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Why domestic abuse is on the increase during lockdown

Domestic Abuse Figures Rising During Lockdown – Resources and Things to Know

The media have reported an alarming increase in reports of domestic abuse in the weeks since the UK has been on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reasons why domestic abuse is on the increase during lockdown may relate to the fact that people are required to stay at home, unable to get away when tensions become high, or to reach out for support from family and friends. There is also a heightened level of anxiety during the pandemic, both economically and health-related, which could lead people to behave in ways they otherwise may not.

The media reports follow a Home Affairs Committee inquiry published on 27th April 2020, calling for ‘a comprehensive cross-governmental Covid-19 strategy on domestic abuse, both for lockdown and the period afterwards, when needs may be high. It suggests that the following measures are included:

  • increasing funding to domestic abuse charities and increasing provision for refuge accommodation;
  • expanding the ‘Safe Spaces’ strategy, which currently has been piloted in pharmacies, so that victims who cannot access helplines or internet resources can obtain help at supermarkets and other retailers;
  • increasing the availability of legal aid so that it is granted automatically to applicants applying for protection during lockdown; and
  • extending the 6-month time limit for offences under the Magistrates Court Act 1980, section 127, so that this does not become a barrier to investigating and prosecuting domestic abuse where victims are unable to make a report during lockdown.

If you or someone you know has concerns or has been affected, please see the below links and contacts which may be of use.

What measures are currently in place in relation to domestic abuse during lockdown

The Government have, as of last month, allocated £2 million to assist charities including domestic abuse helplines. They have also pledged a further £76 million to increase community-based services such as providing additional safe accommodation, support services for children and also housing for rough sleepers.

As of 1st May 2020, Boots pharmacies launched their safe spaces scheme where people can go and access other support services in a private consultation room. As pharmacies are key services required to remain open in lockdown, they can provide a safe area and an opportunity for the person to access support in a way they may be unable to whilst at home. It is hoped that other pharmacies will follow suit.

To make an enquiry about refuge housing, counselling or other support, please see the links below. Alternatively, you can contact us and we can put you in touch with our counsellor.

Resources

24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (freephone)

Gov UK Coronavirus: support for victims of domestic abuse

Bright Sky Domestic Abuse App 

Refuge 

Women’s Aid 

The Hideout 

Mankind 

Galop (LGBTQ+) 

Having graduated in July 2017 with a first class honours degree in law from the University of Bedfordshire, Holly has since been exploring her interest in Family Law. She is currently undertaking her postgraduate LPC and masters course to qualify as a family solicitor. Holly joined Hawkins Family Law in August 2017. She has previously volunteered with public legal advice services and currently is enjoying a new challenge having recently begun a paralegal role at Hawkins Family Law.

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