UK Designates More Than U.S. Vs. COVID Domestic Abuse

Refuge, a London-based service that operates the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, reported that during May it had a 66 percent uptick in calls to its helpline, while traffic to its website skyrocketed 957 percent during the COVID-19 crisis.

In response, the UK government pledged £76 million ($94 million) in funding for domestic abuse relief services.

The U.S. also is seeing spikes in domestic violence. The CARES Act, which was passed in March, included $45 million in aid for homeless people and domestic abuse victims. But funding for the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, which included assistance for domestic abuse victims, has been cut by 30 percent, Cordelia Heaney, the executive director of the Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill, N.C., told the News & Observer.

Shelter-at-home orders during the COVID-19 epidemic have made victims more vulnerable to their abusers, as activities normally used to escape abuse or safely interact with support networks have been cancelled. And funds that could have been put toward escaping abuse might be diverted toward basic living expenses, if one or more people within the home have lost employment.

In North Carolina, some counties have seen double-digit percentage increases in domestic violence incidents, according to the News & Observer

Fortunately, donors have stepped up. In mid-May, New York City couple Boaz and Tali Farhadian Weinstein donated $2 million to a dozen nonprofits that offer aid to victims of domestic violence, according to Bloomberg News. The couple had reacted to statistics showing that domestic violence arrests and reports of child abuse had dropped between late March and late April, while anecdotes about worsening conditions at home were increasing, Bloomberg reported.

In early May, The Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a foundation led by Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, had had given YWCA Silicon Valley $500,000 after reports that a domestic violence shelter the Y operate was forced to turn away 49 people, the Mercury News reported.