2020 has been an extremely challenging year for survivors of domestic abuse.
Two periods of lockdown have meant that many have been trapped with their abusers, with help and support being harder to access than ever before.
COVID-19 has not caused domestic abuse, however the pandemic has escalated and closed down routes to safety for women needing to leave.
A survey conducted by Women’s Aid reported that 71.6% of survivors have had to spend more time with their abuser, and 67.4% of survivors said that their abuse had worsened since the start of the pandemic.
Locally, and nationally, domestic abuse services have seen additional demand for their support.
WORTH Specialist Domestic Abuse Service, located in West Sussex, has not only seen an increase in demand, but also a change to the type of support needed by survivors – already they are seeing the devastating impact on mental health that domestic abuse, mixed with COVID-19 has had.
"Him being home all the time has meant that there has been no break, every single day, he breaks me that bit more. My mental health is at rock bottom. I don’t know how much more I can take."
West Sussex County Council has continued to provide a full Independent Domestic Violence and Abuse (IDVA) service to high risk domestic abuse survivors.
We have prioritised ensuring that survivors across the county know that we are still here by promoting our services to those who need help, so they can access it quickly and easily. You may have seen one of the 35 refuse vehicles across Sussex featuring our #YouAreNotAlone campaign.
We also work alongside partner organisations to provide support to victims of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. You can find all services local to you at the Safe:Space Sussex website.