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Social responsibility means care for all of the vulnerable

  • 02 April 2020
For the past week, I, like many other workers in this country, have been working from home in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I have to admit that I have had many apprehensions about being stuck at home. For one, despite me having a great home life, I am not the type of person who goes home to unwind.

As I have seen all of my favourite restaurants, pubs and music venues shut their doors with social media announcements geared to make me weep, I have felt an incredible sense of foreboding. What if these places, and the people who make them, don’t survive the financial impacts of this pandemic and we never get them back?

As a freelance writer but one with another stable form of employment, I have seen so many other freelancers who don’t have this safety net — whether they be writers, musicians, actors — concerned about their future and how they are going to get through these trying months. I believe everything will come back eventually but I am worried about the artists in our communities and how creativity will fall by the wayside when it precisely what so many of us need to keep us engaged at this drab and scaled down time.

I have another massive concern though. While there have been endless social media posts, political campaigns and the like about staying safe by staying at home, I have been concerned about the many people who are not safe at home and what this may mean to them. What will this mean for the woman who’s been living with a domestic violence perpetrator for years? Or for children whose parents abuse and neglect them? Will the increased policing of social distancing succeed mainly in harming these people?

Though the rights of domestic and family violence victims are never far from my mind, I’m perhaps pondering this issue because I feel it’s a particularly raw time. It was, after all, only a couple of weeks ago that the nation was horrified by the murders of Hannah Clarke and her children. People all of a sudden were discussing domestic and family violence in a way I have rarely heard, possibly because the extreme circumstances of crime meant there were no feasible way Hannah could be blamed for the attack upon herself. There was an absence of victim-blaming for a change