Isolation is one of the tactics often used by controlling and abusive men: keeping women away from friends, family and other sources of information and support. It is one of the ways of stopping her thinking of escape – and stopping her finding out how to.
Abusive men may try and tell their partners who they can or cannot see – or try and keep track of texts, calls emails… But they may also just make it so uncomfortable for friends and family to call round, or meet up – or may move women to a new area to increase the isolation.
The flow of women – often with children – accessing support services due to domestic violence shows a mass migration in England. Women travelling from every local authority area, and ending up in every local authority area.
But it doesn’t often feel like a mass migration for each woman at the time – she may feel like she’s the only one fleeing abuse, and completely isolated and alone.
The middle point of the flow diagram shows women accessing services – this might be the first time she meets other women escaping abuse: the first time she feels that she’s not on her own. Support services may be the first time of not being so isolated – of realising that you are not to blame for the abuse – of not being so alone.
The administrative data of domestic violence journeys show a mass migration – but women and children themselves can feel so isolated – especially if they do not get the support they need and deserve.