COMPULSORY lockdown and cohabitation can increase the risk of assault for victims of gender violence who are constantly forced to share the space with their abuser. 

The Ministry of Equality has announced that it is promoting a plan to prevent, control and minimise these risks. 

These circumstances of home confinement can make it difficult for victims of gender-based violence to ask for help or access the usual channels to report these situations. 

A new emergency resource will be activated for women in this situation, those in need of urgent home care will be able to send an instant message alerting of their location to police. 

The Ministry of Equality will also launch an institutional gender-based awareness campaign and more information on this contingency plan. 

However, before this plan is rolled out, in order to ensure potential victims can access support and protective services such as 24-hour helplines, emergency centres and safe accommodation, these services will all be considered as essential. 

The free number 016 remains in operation during this time and communities have been asked to provide up-to-date information on face-to-face and non-face-to-face services that are open so that 016 does not lead any victim to a service that is not operational. 

The Gender-Based Violence delegation is spreading a message on social media for anyone aware of a possible case of sexist violence that all these channels are still open. 

Psychologist for the Asociacion de Mujeres para la Salud, Pilar Pascual said: “We’re sure it’s going to increase. We have already seen that it happens in other cases, for example in the summer or Christmas holidays, when the increase in coexistence implies an uptick in conflicts.” 

The situation of confinement in China and Italy has shown an aggravated risk to women living with abusers due to restricted movements although there has been a decrease of reports of abuse most likely as this forced coexistence makes it more difficult for women to denounce their abuser.  

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