As the movement restriction measures have been put in place to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, many at-risk women and children find themselves ‘locked’ into the same houses as perpetrators. At the same time, resources are diverted to address the pandemic, reducing the critical social infrastructure such as social services, access to the criminal justice system, as well as women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare that are crucially needed to protect domestic violence survivors.
In the interest of evidence-based policymaking, WAO has made public our monthly services data to highlight the plight of the epidemic on at-risk women and children.
WAO initially reported a 44 per cent increase in WAO Hotline calls and WhatsApp enquiries from February to March 2020. Subsequently, we saw an even greater spike: in the first half of April, WAO received 264 calls and WhatsApp enquiries, which is a 111.2 per cent increase compared to 125 calls and WhatsApp enquiries over a 14-day period in February.