COVID-19 does not cause homicide – abusers do

Nicki Norman, Acting Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

The murder of a woman by her husband is not a “coronavirus” murderCOVID-19 does not cause homicide – abusers do. Domestic homicides are usually underpinned by a longstanding pattern of controlling and coercive behaviourby the abuser.


Three women are murdered by their partner or ex-partner every fortnight in England and Wales. With reported domestic abuse cases rising worldwide during the pandemic, there is a real risk that murders may rise further still. 


However, COVID-19 will not cause domestic homicides – only abusers are responsible for their actions. The pandemic does, however, threaten to escalate abuse and close down routes to safety for women to escape.


Women will be in lockdown with their abuser, unable to get breathing space. It will be harder to text or phone to get support from friends and family, and from specialist support services. Child survivors will no longer have the respite of school or nursery, which can often be a safe space to access support.


This current crisis could not come at a worse time for specialist domestic abuse serviceafter years of debilitating cuts. We call on governments and other funding bodies to provide the sector, nationally and locally, with an immediate cash injection to adapt services to remote working and cope with the additional demand caused by COVID-19.


Support services are working around the clock to adapt to these unprecedented times. Refuges are supporting as many women as they can whilst facing new challenges such as staff sickness and the spread of the virus within shared accommodation. They need a guarantee from government that emergency funding, PPE and testing will be available immediately


Survivors, we are here for you. 

You can get information about national and local support services on our COVID-19/Coronavirus: Safety Advice for Survivors page.

Our usual support services are open and our member services are working tirelessly across the country to deliver their life-saving work.

Please contact the Live Chat helpline open 10 am – noon Monday – Friday, our email helpline staffed by specialist workers Monday – Friday, and our Survivors’ Forum where survivors can speak to other women in our supportive community of survivors. 

If you are in danger, always call 999.

Keep these vital services running and help every woman who reaches out in need by donating today to our urgent #SupportSurvivors appeal

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Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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