When the UK’s first lockdown was announced in March 2021, domestic abuse services were presented with an unprecedented challenge. With people confined to their homes and isolated from their support networks, rates of domestic abuse spiked.
It quickly became clear that the Men’s Advice Line, the helpline for male victims of domestic abuse, would have to adapt to meet this surge in demand. Not only did the volume of calls increase dramatically, but the reasons for calling reflected the shutdown of many services, exposing a group that was more vulnerable than ever.
Victims concerned about homelessness were faced with the prospect of scant emergency accommodation, those expressing mental health distress were faced with already overwhelmed services, and many expressed fears that their immigration status was being weaponised by their partner. Demand for the Men’s Advice Line increased by 57% compared to the previous year.
Fortunately, the award of additional funding enabled the helpline to increase capacity: opening for longer, recruiting more Advisors, and creating resources to supplement the support given via the helpline. As a result, the Men’s Advice Line served as a reliable lifeline for those needing support throughout the crisis.
To reflect on this work and show its impact, we have created a Service Review documenting the ways in which the service adapted, and continues to adapt, to the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Demand is growing for services that support male victims of domestic abuse.