Funding awarded to help more people in Wales tackle rising cases of domestic abuse

The Wales Violence Prevention Unit has secured funding to deliver vital domestic abuse research investigating the experiences and behaviours of those who witness or have concerns about domestic violence and abuse and its warning signs during COVID-19.

Since lockdown measures came into force early in 2020, there have been stark warnings from global leaders about the risk of a "shadow pandemic" of abuse taking place inside people's homes*. In Wales, there has been a 41% increase in the number of contacts made to the Live Fear Free helpline since April 2020**.

As much of the population continues to observe the "stay home" guidance, there are fewer opportunities for survivors to seek support and for bystanders, such as concerned family, friends, volunteers and colleagues, to intervene. However, with many people now conducting much of their daily life from inside their homes, there are new opportunities for different groups of people, including neighbours, colleagues in virtual meetings and delivery drivers, to spot the warning signs of abuse and take safe action.

The innovative study, led by the Unit in partnership with Exeter University Law School and funded Public Health Wales, will explore how bystander experiences and behaviours have changed and developed  during restrictions put in place to control COVID-19***. The research will help develop bystander intervention training programmes which can be invaluable for equipping members of the public with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely intervene when they are witness to or have concerns about abuse.