France is officially stepping in to help the victims of domestic violence, many of whom face an increased risk of danger during the era of social distancing.
The country first went on strict lockdown on March 17, Time notes, and stipulated that people were not allowed to leave their homes unless they were shopping for groceries, picking up medication or going to the doctor, exercising, or walking a pet. Such strict isolation can make already vulnerable people even more at-risk for abuse — especially given that many abusers often restrict their targets’ connection to the world.
Since these lockdown rules were put in place, reported instances of domestic violence have spiked by at least 36 percent in Paris and 32 percent elsewhere in the country, and two women have been killed by their partners. (The country has previously acknowledged the scope of its domestic violence problem, particularly as it pertains to women, and has promised to work to eradicate it.)
As a result, Gender Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa announced on Monday (March 30) that the country would be providing hotel rooms for domestic violence victims looking to escape dangerous living situations. The government will also set up several help points around the country to connect with victims and help them determine what resources they may need. Given people can only run crucial errands, those help points will be located in grocery stores and pharmacies, so victims can seek help discreetly.
“My biggest concern is to multiply the points of contact with women,” Schiappa said, per Reuters. “As it’s difficult for women to get out, we want to make sure that support systems can go to women.” Time also notes that the French government plans to