Trigger warning: This article contains references to domestic violence, as do many of its outbound links.
Lockdown forced the country to stay home in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, but home wasn’t the safest space for all it soon emerged. Back in April, domestic abuse cases were said to be on the rise as countless charities asked the government for extra support. A recent survey by charity Women’s Aid said 72% of those surveyed said their abuser has more control over their life since COVID-19. In response, Twitter has partnered with Women’s Aid to support survivors of domestic abuse in the UK.
Known for connecting millions of people online, Twitter bosses say its “top priority” is ensuring people feel safe on the social media platform. As part of Twitter’s existing #ThereIsHelp initiative, users searching for information on domestic abuse and associated information will be served a prompt which will direct them to support services provided by charity Women’s Aid.
The national charity has experienced “a surge of women” accessing their Live Chat service throughout lockdown, as well as visitors to their Survivors' Forum which they say “has never been busier”.
“We want women to know that help is out there and that they are not alone,” said Teresa Parker, Head of Media Relations and Communications at Women’s Aid. “This new tool will help us reach women beyond our networks who may not know what support is available.” Katy Minshall, Twitter’s Head of Public Policy and Philanthropy, added: “With the #ThereIsHelp prompt, we want people who are vulnerable, or know of others that are, to reach out for support with Women’s Aid.”
The Twitter prompt directs users to services including the Women’s Aid Live Chat, where survivors can speak with a Women’s Aid expert support worker; a contact an email service; access to the Survivor’s Handbook, which has practical advice; and the Survivors’ Forum, where survivors can support each other in a safe, online space.
The #ThereIsHelp search prompt for gender-based violence is also available in India, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States.
For those seeking help or advice regarding domestic abuse they are encouraged to visit www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support to access their digital support services
If you or someone you love have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this piece, contact Refuge's UK-wide 24-hour helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact them online via live chat or message. There is more information available on the Women’s Aid website, too. In an emergency, call the Police on 999 and press 55 when prompted if you can't speak.