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Study reveals creative ways to support DA victims in Covid times

Friends, family, neighbours and colleagues are using inventive ways to keep in touch with and continue helping domestic abuse survivors during the pandemic, according to University of Bristol research.

Supporters have established support bubbles with the victim, even at the cost of forming one with another family member or breaking lockdown rules.

They also adapted WhatsApp messages monitored by the perpetrator to keep communication channels open; communicated through a third-party; kept an eye on the survivor’s social media activity; and bridged the gap when professional services support was affected by the pandemic.

Leader author Dr Alison Gregory said: “Positive support from friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues is often vital for women experiencing domestic abuse. Despite the additional challenges presented by the pandemic, many people have remained keen to help.”

The study by the university’s Centre for Academic Primary Care and Centre for Gender and Violence Research was based on 18 in-depth interviews with people who knew a female friend, relative, neighbour or colleague who had experienced domestic abuse. Participants were aged 25 to 69 years old; 15 were women and three were men.

The report was published in the Journal of Family Practice.

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