Join us to run 5K for our charity partner, Women's Aid - Women's Running

Join us to run 5K for our charity partner, Women’s Aid

Author: Kate Sellers

Read Time:   |  October 29, 2021

Find out more about our new charity partner and how you can get involved to support them

In this third lockdown, we’ve asked ourselves what we can do to help people directly affected in our community. We’ve partnered with charity Women’s Aid to raise awareness and funds to support those who are experiencing domestic abuse. 

“Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause domestic abuse, it has created a perfect storm of challenges for survivors and the services supporting them,” says Sarah Davidge, Research and Evaluation manager at Women’s Aid.

“As survivors and their children face escalating abuse and increasingly complex barriers to support, and at a time when public services are diverted by COVID-19, the need for specialist domestic abuse services has never been more critical,” explains Nicki Norman, acting Chief Executive at Women’s Aid.

Funding for these services has been especially affected. Women’s domestic abuse support services were already facing a funding crisis when this pandemic hit,” explains Nicki. “They had little or no financial resilience to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, and now vital services are experiencing a significant financial impact.”  

Here at Women’s Running, we’re hoping to help as many people as possible who going through this difficult situation. We’re hosting a virtual 5K run on the 28th February to raise money for Women’s Aid. You can find out more on our new Women’s Running Run Club Facebook group, or click here for more info and to make your donation.

If you’d like to find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on domestic abuse and support services, read on for a report from Women’s Aid. To make a donation, or to sign up to run for the charity, visit their website. 

This campaign is now closed. Thank you to all who ran with us and helped us to raise money for Women’s Aid.

A Perfect Storm – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse survivors and the services supporting them.

This report shows how domestic abuse has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines the impact on survivors; how abusers use the pandemic as a tool of abuse; and how the services supporting survivors are affected.

1) Impact on survivors

91% of respondents currently experiencing domestic abuse said the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted in at least one way. Of those women living with their abuser during lockdown, 61% said the abuse had worsened. More than two-thirds (68%) said they felt they had no one to turn to during lockdown.

Survivors with children, who were currently experiencing abuse, told us things were also worse for their children. Over half (53%) told us their children had seen more abuse to the survivor. Over a third (38%) said that their abuser had shown an increase in abusive behaviour towards the children.

In April, during the height of the lockdown, over three quarters (78%) of women experiencing abuse at that time told us they thought COVID-19 made it harder for them to escape abuse. This was still a significant problem in June, in spite of easing lockdown measures:

  • One in ten (10%) survivors told us that their abuser had actively used lockdown restrictions to stop them from leaving.
  • One-fifth (20.3%) said that they had tried to leave during the pandemic but had been unable to access housing or refuge space

2) Tools of abuse

The report reveals how abusers have used the pandemic as a tool for abuse to increase fear and anxiety. 67% of women responding who were currently experiencing abuse said that COVID-19 had been used as part of the abuse they suffered in one or more ways.

Survivors talked about perpetrators disregarding concerns about the virus and ignoring restrictions. Some survivors talked about their abuser exploiting the lack of available support to increase control.

The pandemic also increased post-relationship abuse including perpetrators pressuring women into facilitating child contact even when this would breach lockdown and increase risk of contracting the virus. 38.3% said child contact arrangements have been used to further abuse, for example not returning children or restricting women’s access to their children.

3) Impact on domestic abuse services

The period from 23 March to 31 May 2020 saw a 40.6% reduction in the number of refuge vacancies in England, compared to the same period in 2019. The most common reasons were a lack of suitable move-on accommodation (67% of those with reduced availability) and concerns over managing the spread of the virus in communal accommodation (61% of those with reduced availability). Service providers expect to see a spike in demand across their services in the coming months with most (63%) expecting this spike to continue for at least a year.

How to access support from Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid Live Chat and email service, where women can chat or email confidentially with a support worker. Live Chat is available Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10am-12pm.

Survivor support
The Survivor’s Forum, a safe, anonymous space for women over 18 to share their experiences and support one another. The Survivor’s Handbook, providing practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse.

Love Respect, a dedicated website for young people in their first relationship, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated.

Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Kate is our Senior Digital Executive and a keen runner. She's also a qualified Personal Trainer and yoga teacher, so she knows her stuff about workouts, cross-training and stretching. She loves to combine running and exploring, so you'll often find her testing out the latest kit in exciting locations across the UK and beyond. Kate champions exercising for enjoyment. "Most of the year, you'll find me running for fun and wellbeing," she says. "That being said, I do still love the thrill of training for a race from time to time!"

Meet the team

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