There are no doubt many people in a challenging situation during COVID-19 lockdown. If your circumstances involve an abusive partner, the team at Cath Karlin Family Law would like to share some genuine advice and reassurance. We know it’s not easy to handle this situation even outside of lockdown so we want to offer as much support as possible during this difficult time.
It’s quite likely that feelings and emotions will be heightened at the moment, especially with the recent government update on continued lockdown. That being said, it’s not an excuse or a prompt for any form of abuse, whether verbal, physical or psychological, to take place in the home.
What Should I Do If I Have An Abusive Partner?
It is quite common that an abusive partner may try and control you by downplaying the seriousness of what they’re doing to you and as a result, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of danger you’re in. It’s vital to protect yourself from harm if you feel that you’re being abused and please remember your worth and that you never have to do this alone.
The usual immediate advice, whether children are involved or not, would be to get support from friends and family or someone you can trust and stay with them if it’s safe to do so. In some severe cases, you have the option to seek refuge from a shelter or even get in touch with emergency services. Once you (and your children if applicable) are in a safe place, it is then time to seek legal support and advice.
However, due to Coronavirus, the extended lockdown and stay-at-home guidelines, we are, unfortunately, not in normal circumstances and some of the above advice may be difficult to follow if your partner has become or continues to be abusive.
In light of this, we have compiled some simple recommendations on where to find advice or people to speak to if you have an abusive partner and we’ve also outlined some healthy habits to try as part of a daily routine that could help with your sensitive lockdown scenario.
This includes ways to have some ‘me-time’ away from an abusive partner. It’s absolutely paramount that your mental wellbeing maintains high levels of positivity and that every bit of inner strength you have is spent on you.
Below are some simple steps to try that are designed to help you cope with an abusive partner during the lockdown, where access to support from others is limited and the opportunity to seek legal advice may not be something you can think about at this time.
- Keep to a regular routine. This will instill feelings of self-worth and provide you with a framework.
- Try to stay connected to the outside world. Even work colleagues if you are homeworking can provide this.
- Take time away. Either by being in a different room from your abuser or going outside for your daily exercise. This will give you time away and an ability to look for help online or even call a solicitor or the police.
Who Can I Speak To About My Abusive Partner During Lockdown?
According to Edinburgh News and Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline, there has been a 20% reduction in calls made about abusive partners.
One of the reasons for this is that there may be limited access to a phone and privacy to make a phone call. As partners are with each other day in and day out (unless one partner is still working outside of the home), then any opportunities for the abused partner to pick up the phone are pretty slim so this could explain the significant drop off in calls.
If this is the case, there are a number of entirely confidential online web chats and messaging apps on your phone, which you can use instead and hopefully, you are able to install these. They are much more discreet and allow you to speak freely without having to rush a telephone call.
Have a look at Scottish Women’s Aid who offer 24/7 help and advice with plenty of information on their website explicitly relating to abusive partners during the Coronavirus lockdown.
There is also Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline, offering exactly the same level of service, including email, but also in several different languages which could be really helpful.
How Can Cath Karlin Family Law Help You?
For extra support during this extremely difficult time, the team at Cath Karlin Family Law can also help at a time that for most people is difficult, unfamiliar and challenging.
We can accommodate your needs and preferred form of communication, at a time that suits you best. There is a facility within Scots Law to obtain an exclusion order and interdicts which would prevent your abuser living in the property thus keeping you safe. The courts are very alive to the fact that victims of domestic abuse need protection and would consider such applications as warranting emergency hearings during this time.
We will encourage you to carefully consider the route to be taken for yourself and your family, rather than simply focusing on the outcome of an abusive partner, providing you with the support you need. If you need to and are able to speak to someone, please don’t wait a moment longer to get in touch. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call if it’s safe to do so on 0131 357 1515.