Prior to CV19, our Choice Support Workers and Wellbeing Practitioner provided intensive support face-to-face with clients. Our training and workshop activities were face-to-face, our research was conducted in homes and within community settings. The impact of CVD19 transformed all aspects of our work, as, like many others we had to move to online and telephone communication.
For older victim-survivors, CV19 has highlighted the significance of constrained physical spaces and the impact of isolation in the context of domestic abuse. It has also helped to identify the service poverty older people seeking help and justice experience, for example, inadequate emergency housing for older people, especially those who need to shield for health reasons.
When responding to crimes, harms and the care needs of clients, the effects of CV19 has bought into focus how a co-ordinated community response conducted online via Teams, etc, often led to stronger representation online across sector providing information from a broader range of statutory and third sector groups.
Enforced social isolation not only increased the risk of serious harm to older victim-survivors, but it also made safeguarding more challenging, which sometime encouraged new ways of safety planning and safeguarding strategies involving more family members, where it was safe to do so, or more friends and neighbours. Integrating formal and informal networks in surveillance techniques helped in some instances to keep clients safe. However, for those where domestic abuse and dementia co-exist, the consequences of CV19 have been far reaching. Our service team at Choice have been unable to provide face to face support to clients, this has impacted on client’s ability to undertake activities that promote independence and positive social interaction to the detriment of their health and wellbeing.