How can women keep safe in homes with domestic violence during COVID-19 crisis?
Keeping herself and her children safe at home when the abuser is at home can be difficult. However, there are certain things she can do in order to keep herself safe:
- If your life, or someone else’s life, is at immediate risk call the Garda emergency number 112 or 999
- If you can trust your neighbour, someone parked at your yard, family member or friend, let them know your situation. Set up a code word or a visual signal so that they can call the Gardai for you when you need them to
- Contact a domestic violence service for information, support and someone to talk to
- Figure out what are safe areas in your house where there are no sharp objects and there is a door to escape. If he becomes abusive, try to move to those areas
- If possible, have your phone with you at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know the number to Women’s Aid or local domestic violence service. If your life is in danger, call the Gardai
- Keep you and your children safe. Plan a code word or a visual signal to let them know that they should get help or leave the house
- Plan for what you will do if your children tells your husband about the code word or visual signal, or if he finds out about it some other way
- Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping the petrol tank fuelled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape
- Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to harm you
- Come up with many excuses to get out of the house/trailer
What can you do if your mental health is suffering as a result of domestic violence and/or the COVID-19 crisis?
As a result of COVID-19, women might be experiencing added stress and pressure. Women in abusive relationships may be worried about their safety and the safety of the children.
It is important that women try to mind themselves during this time. Please see Pavee Point mental health resources on Pavee Mental Health Supports and Keeping Travellers Well and the HSE’s webpage on Minding your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Important: If you have to leave your home make sure you wash your hands regularly and/or disinfect your hands with hand sanitiser, avoid touching your face, try not to touch surfaces that other people have had contact with, and stay at least 2 meters away from people. If you have to cough or sneeze, do this to your sleeve or tissue. If you have children, make sure they do all of this as well. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 call a GP. You can also call or text a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for Travellers 083 100 6300. For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing see the HSE’s website or Pavee Point’s page on COVID-19.