Published: 11:47 PM, 31 March 2021 Last Update: 12:15 AM, 01 April 2021
Janomot desk:The government wants to remind those in the South Asian community that help andsupport is still available during the coronavirus pandemic through the on going#YouAreNotAlone domestic abuse campaign.
The#YouAreNotAlone campaign, which is open to people of all ethnicities, ages andbackgrounds, was first set up in April 2020 in response to the increased demandfor domestic abuse services during the first national lockdown. It aims toreassure and inform anybody at risk of, or experiencing domestic abuse that:
● Help and support is available for victims andtheir children during and beyond the coronavirus pandemic
● There is support available for all victims ifthey are able to leave home to seek help during the coronavirus pandemic
● Under the current lockdown rules, people areallowed to leave home if they are at risk of harm, including domestic abuse .
● If you are in immediate danger you should call999 and the police will respond.
● You, and your children, can still accessdomestic abuse support services even if you are worried about your immigrationstatus
Nadia Ali, TVand radio presenter, said: “There are many beautiful aspects associatedwith South Asian culture, but there are also some that can be quite damaging.Whilst going through my abuse, I allowed my husband to use our faith and ourculture as weapons to manipulate me and keep me trapped in an emotionally andpsychologically cruel marriage. After a while, I had the strength to actuallylisten to the voices in my head telling me that what I was going through wasvery wrong and no one had the right to control my mind, body or soul. It wastime to put myself first, before my husband and the community.“
She said, “Homeis meant to be your haven, your safe place. If you find yourself being abusedphysically, psychologically or even emotionally by your husband or any otherfamily member, I urge you to find a way to leave. There is so much supportavailable so please trust your feelings, listen to your inner voice and try toseek help. You deserve the best!”
Seema Dhanak,Housing Caseworker and social media campaigner for domestic abuse awareness,has seen first-hand how the lockdown has impacted women from the community. Shehas often supported members of the popular South Asian women’s network group,RecommendAsian, with their own experiences of domestic abuse. Shesaid: “In my current role, I have dealt with hundreds of homelesspeople affected by various forms of domestic abuse ranging from physical,sexual, emotional and financial. It wasn’t until I started supporting membersof the group RecommendAsian that I truly began to understand the horrificnature of this crime, and the pain and suffering it caused the women in mycommunity.
"ForSouth Asian families, it is still considered taboo to take action if you arebeing abused by your husband, partner or another family member. And people findit easier to tolerate the abuse than venture into the unknown realms ofhomelessness and social services. From my own knowledge and experience of workingwith survivors of domestic abuse, I want to change how the community respondsto this crime, and highlight that help is available during and beyond thecoronavirus pandemic."
The#YouAreNotAlone campaign also encourages people that know someone experiencingdomestic abuse to seek support at gov.uk/domestic-abuse or to call thefreephone 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline being provided byRefuge on 0808 2000 247 (in England, see alternative helplines below).
Following therecent widespread discussions about women’s safety, the Government reopened itsViolence Against Women and Girls call forevidence. The aim is to understand the views and lived experiencesof people from all backgrounds to help shape the new Violence Against Women andGirls strategy and ensure the Government is able to protect more victims andtackle perpetrators
To learn moreabout the support available during and after the national lockdown,visit gov.uk/domestic-abuse. You can also call or contact one of the beloworganisations:
● The Freephone 24-hour National Domestic AbuseHelpline run by Refuge for victims in England: 0808 2000 247. The hotline hasUrdu, Punjabi and Hindi interpreters available upon request.
● The 24-hour Live Fear Free helpline fordomestic abuse victims in Wales: 0808 80 10 800 or text 078600 77 333.
● The Men’s Advice line offers support for malevictims of domestic abuse: 0808 801 0327.
● Karma Nirvana - a human rightscharity supporting victims of domestic abuse, honour-based abuse and forcedmarriage.
● Roshni - a charityset up to support Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic communities affected bydomestic abuse including forced marriage and honour based abuse.
– 24 hour multilingual helpline - Contact number- 08009539666
● Saheli - a Manchester-based charityset up to provide advice, information and support services to Asian womenand their children fleeing domestic abuse and/or forced marriages. Contactnumber 01619454187
● Sharan - UK-based charity dedicatedto supporting and advising vulnerable women, particularly of South Asianorigin, who have been or are at risk of being disowned due to abuse orpersecution. Contact number - 0844 504 3231