Domestic abuse — the perpetual global pandemic

Julie Ann Richards
3 min readApr 28, 2020

Within the first week of lockdown in South Africa the police had received over 87, 000 gender based complaints whilst calls to the police dropped by 55% in Italy the first two weeks of March at the beginning of lockdown.

This complex pattern has been replicated across the world from Wales to the USA and as predictable as it is preventable, gender based domestic violence and murders have risen as other crimes such as robberies have declined during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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As WHO issued a health warning regarding a global pandemic in January 2020 and Governments were urged to “test, test, test’ there was no health warning, no police warning, no housing warning, no warning of a pandemic that is perpetual and claims hundreds of thousands of women’s lives every single year.

Following the implementation of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 by the Welsh Government in Wales there has been a multi-agency approach in tackling Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV).

We have VAWDASV National Advisors to the Welsh Government Yasmin Khan and Nazir Azfal OBE who have recently have produced an annual plan 2020–2021 to tackle all forms of gender based violence, a National Training Framework for local authorities, Ask Me Ambassadors like myself on behalf Welsh Women’s Aid who signpost to support agencies within our communities. All of this is leading us in the right direction in Wales, but the figures continue to rise and we lose another mother, daughter, sister, friend, female colleague.

Why is that?

During this lockdown we have seen our communities rally together, our businesses and academic institutions adapt to create PPE, police issued with more powers, local authorities and Government providing additional funding for health and housing and the incredible actions of individuals to raise money and awareness to tackle this pandemic.

It is this will, this commitment we need to tackle and eliminate domestic abuse.

So is there really the will and commitment to tackling Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence?

Will there be lessons learnt after the lockdown or will it be business as usual with the death of our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and female colleagues becoming just another statistic, another news headline as the perpetual global pandemic continues…

The Live Fear Free Helpline is a bilingual, confidential helpline available 24/7 0808 80 10 800 (applies to Welsh residents only).

Bawso specialist services for BAME communities 24/7 confidential helpline 0800 731 8147 (applies to Welsh residents only).



Julie Ann Richards

Radical Feminist, Mam, Cymraes, heart always rules head, Trustee — Fair Treatment of Women in Wales, domestic abuse survivor — views are my own