ISOLATION methods to battle coronavirus have resulted in fears for sexual abuse victims who remain in even greater danger at home.
The director of Sexual Violence Centre Cork, Mary Crilly, said that very often victims have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a partner or husband. She said that while the guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus are necessary and should be adhered to the situation will inevitably result in a spike in domestic violence cases.
She is, for this reason, adapting the charity’s usual approach to enable counselling sessions through Skype and other technological means.
“They are already going through so much without that extra isolation,” she said. “We’ve had women come to the centre who tell us ‘My husband has been abusive to me for years, but this time he raped me.’
“Once he crosses that line an abuser doesn’t stop, he keeps going. This isn’t something that happens only once. If a person is abusive they will do it again. It’s that black and white.”
She pleaded with people trapped in this situation to reach out if in need of help.
“It’s going to be a nightmare for women in these situations,” she said. When the kids are restless and an abuser is out of the work the abuse is going to ramp up.
"Being confined to the house will make it very difficult to get the phone or make an exit. One woman contacted us unsure about how she would be able to speak to us in privacy. We advised her to go out into the car to make the call.
"Sometimes it can be the case that a person is so distressed they are unable to think straight.”
The charity are bracing themselves for an increase of calls in the approaching weeks and months.
“They are great at surviving,” she said of abuse victims. “I have no doubt that people will survive this but we want them to know that we are there for them if they need us. Sometimes even having an appointment made gives people peace of mind even if they know they’ll never have to use it.”
She said that the main focus of abuse victims now will be their kids.
“Their main concern in this situation will be about keeping the kids safe.”
A blink of the eye can infuriate an abuser. In an everyday situation the victim will have some kind of break where she can make that call for help.”
Those seeking the support of Mary Crilly and her team can email firstname.lastname@example.org They can also phone 1800 496496 or text 087 1533393.