Life in a Domestic Abuse refuge during the COVID pandemic

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch County Durham contacted 4 refuges in the county to talk to frontline staff and clients about how women were being supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report found that women and their families experience greater isolation due to leaving their homes to come into the refuge. Measures have been put in place to ensure that social distancing is upheld, such as rotas for accessing communal spaces. Provider organisations are making sure staff are supported, both supplying the physical resources such as PPE, but also checking their mental health and wellbeing. Home schooling can be a challenge for many women in the refuges, who are struggling to cope with their personal circumstances. Many of them do not have access to electronic equipment so cannot easily access online lessons. Move-on at the appropriate time was still taking place and housing providers were giving priority to domestic abuse victims moving out of the refuge. Some of the staff feel that there will be a surge in women and families seeking help once the current lockdown is relaxed.

No recommendations were made in this report

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General details

Report title 
Life in a Domestic Abuse refuge during the COVID pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch County Durham
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 9 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Health protection
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Community services 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.