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COVID 19 leads to rise in Domestic Violence Cases in the UK

View profile for Rene Panayiotou
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Whilst the UK lockdown is intended to protect the health and safety of the public it is having the opposite effect on victims in abusive relationships. Following the publication of the strict Government “Stay at Home” guidelines, there has been an increase in the number of reported domestic abuse crimes. This comes at no surprise to Baroness Hughes who anticipated this was likely to happen due to the financial strains and stressful circumstances families find themselves in as a result of the current pandemic. 

 

Avon and Somerset Police have reported a 20.9% increase in domestic abuse incidents in the last two weeks. This begs the question as to how many incidents remain unreported. It is no secret that half the battle victims face when in an abusive relationship is building up the courage to speak out. It is therefore likely that the Government imposed lock-down creates an even bigger hurdle for victims to overcome.  This has been recognised as an issue globally. The UK Government has responded by donating £1.6 billion to local councils and charities in order to help victims seek refuge.  Refuges will remain open and the police will continue to provide support to victims of all forms of abuse.

 

In Cumbria, police officers have asked postal workers, food delivery drivers and carers to look out for signs of abuse as these are the only people that victims are likely to interact with during quarantine. We believe this small step could make all the difference and should be adopted throughout the UK. If you are unsure of whether you are a victim of domestic abuse or whether you know a victim of abuse please click the following link for Government guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help.

 

It is not known how long this Government imposed lock-down will continue and it is therefore imperative that victims can reach out to relevant organisations, authorities or charities that can assist in the interim. We have set out below a list of various help-lines or organisations that can assist:-

 

  1. Call the police by dialling 999 in the event of an emergency.
  2. Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline operating 24 hours for free on: 0808 2000 247
  3. Download the Bright Sky App – disguised as an app that provides support to victims of domestic abuse.
  4. Visit https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/ - you can chat to someone online via the website or via email on helpline@womensaid.org.uk. There is also step-by –step guide for deleting your internet history available on their website.
  5. For men, please call Men’s Life Advice on 0808 8010 327 or email info@mensadviceline.org.uk.

 

In addition to the above and in an effort to impose a more long-term measure, victims should seek legal advice. We at Chapman Pieri Solicitors offer specialist advice in pursuing injunctive measures against perpetrators of domestic abuse. Please call 0208 882 9850 for further information and/or advice. If you are unable to contact us by phone, please contact us via the following email address: info@cpfamilylaw.co.uk. We are continuing to operate remotely to ensure that we can assist all members of the public with any family law related issues including those who are experiencing domestic abuse during this unprecedented time.