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Pope Francis prays for ‘many mothers and sisters’ facing domestic violence during coronavirus lockdown in Easter message – The Sun

POPE Francis today offered prayers for the "many mothers and sisters" who are suffering domestic violence during the coronavirus lockdown.

He spoke in a livestreamed Easter Monday sermon from his library in the Vatican after public worship was banned.

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Francis, 83, conducted a Good Friday service in a deserted St Peter's Square and yesterday called for global solidarity to fight Covid-19 in an Easter mass in the near-empty St Peter's Basilica.

Today his message was about women, and he praised those in frontline roles such as doctors, nurses, police officers, prison guards and shop staff.

He also offered a prayer to the "many mothers and sisters who find themselves locked in the house with the whole family, with children, with the elderly and the disabled".

Francis told worshippers watching online: "Sometimes they risk being victims of violence in a cohabitation that they bear like a weight that is far too heavy.

"Let us pray for them, so the Lord grants them strength and that our communities support them along with their families."

Domestic violence has risen in many countries since people were told to stay indoors to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

On Saturday the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed domestic abuse reports have more than doubled since families were confined to home.

She pledged £2million towards helplines for the thousands of victims trapped in a “horrific cycle” since the lockdown began three weeks ago.

Domestic violence programs across the United States have also recorded increased calls for help, with one charity in New Jersey saying calls were up 24 per cent.

In Spain, calls to a victims' helpline were up 12.4 per cen on the same time last year, while searches for online help rose by 270 per cent, the Equality Ministry said.

In Italy there has been a fall in official reports of domestic violence, but support groups said they fear that is a signal that women are finding it harder to seek help during a lockdown.

Italy's interior ministry is using a phone app to help geo-locate women who do seek help, and has allocated 30million euros to help shelter victims of domestic abuse.


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