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We celebrate excellence in Black History Month 2020 by speaking to author and certified relationship coach, Nigel Beckles.

All information and links were correct at the date of original publication on
7 Oct 2020

What is the biggest misconception about domestic abuse?

Men can frequently be invisible victims of relationship abuse.

It is estimated that one in three survivors of domestic abuse are male (this could be higher due to cases not being reported) but there is comparatively little discussion regarding the obstacles they face when trying to seek advice of support.

In many societies, the default attitude is the woman being the victim and the man as the perpetrator.

Many men in domestic abuse or domestic violence situations believe it is only happening to them and no other man has experienced abuse from a woman.

Relationship abuse against men happens regardless of their culture, age, race or occupation.

Across the world, there is a persistent stereotype that domestic violence or emotional cruelty only involves a man abusing a woman.

What impact has COVID19 had on women, families and children?

During the early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) began to sweep the world as panic gripped various nations.

Governments encouraging or enforcing self-isolation appeared to be sensible advice considering how quickly the virus was spreading.

In normal circumstances, victims of domestic abuse could attempt seeking help outside of their homes, perhaps a place of employment or staying with friends or family members when there was any potential danger.

Avenues for those in search of support were abruptly curtailed in many cities as they went into lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus but the policy designed to save lives also placed victims of domestic abuse at greater risk.

In the UK during early April 2020, the murders of five women were being investigated amid fears the deaths were connected to the coronavirus lockdown.

Within the same period of time, Refuge, the domestic abuse charity saw a massive surge of 700% enquiries to their website and calls to their helpline increase by 125%.

During this time activists and survivors reported an alarming rise in abuse cases being reported with figures only recording cases where women were able to seek support.

Advocates around the world appealed for legal or policy changes to assist women and children during lockdown periods of quarantine around the world.

Many services faced a very difficult dilemma to either refuse new applicant to avoid the possibility of spreading the virus or to accept new arrivals and risk increasing the infection rates.

To make the situation even worse there were less staff available at refuges due to sickness or self-isolation.

The official lockdown policies in numerous countries brought a dramatic rise in cases becoming a cruel trap for those suffering domestic abuse.

For survivors of domestic mistreatment, many experienced ex-partners making contact seeking to lure them back into a taxic connection falsely expressing concern or regret for their behaviour.

Abusers often seek to return if they believe there is a chance a previous partner will be vulnerable for whatever reason.

This can cause mental and emotional confusion when a person is still processing their healing and recovery.

The consequences for numerous victims during the crisis resulted in tragic events, sadly even including murders during voluntary self-quarantine while living with a violent partner.

The impact of domestic violence also has a negative impact on the lives of children and young people don’t have to witness the violence or abuse to be affected by it. The issues created can follow them into adulthood.

With a second wave of the coronavirus now occurring in the UK, the outlook for victims of abuse for the remainder of this year and 2021 appears to be very bleak.

Image by Josephine Bredehoft
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A huge thank you to Nigel for talking to us about a very difficult subject.
If you, or suspect someone else, is a victim of domestic abuse, the Refuge have a free, 24-hour helpline. The number is 0800 2000 247 or you can find more organisations who may be able to help on our dedicated Domestic Violence page.
His book called ‘How To Avoid Making The Big Relationship Mistakes’ is now available. You can also follow him on Twitter, where he’s @Nigelbee1
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