31 March, 2020
Following advice from the Prime Minister, the UK is in a state of lockdown which has left many families and couples feeling uncertain and has placed extra strain on their relationships and an increased financial burden. This only adds to the difficulty that many people already feel who are at risk of domestic violence, and undoubtedly causes a lot of worry and concern for their safety and the safety of their children.
For a lot of people who suffer from domestic abuse, whether that is violence or emotional abuse and control, the current and extreme situation that they find themselves in can make matters much worse for them as they feel that they are unable to leave their homes to escape their situation.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, from West Midlands Police, said data from China and Italy suggested incidents could "increase by three-fold" over the coming weeks, and that some abusers have already tried to manipulate the crisis.
Some abusers believe that they cannot be arrested if they tell the police that they have Covid-19. This is not the case and domestic abusers will be arrested.
"We have appropriate custody facilities set up, so we can still arrest people, we can still deal with them and we can ensure that we can keep victims safe at this difficult time."
Home Secretary Priti Patel has made an announcement that domestic abuse victims are permitted to escape their partners or ask for help in the coronavirus lockdown, this comes after police have reported that there has already been a rise in reported cases of domestic abuse.
Ms Patel has pledged that domestic abuse victims who are isolated with their abusers during the virus lockdown will not be forgotten and has stated that she is aware that home was not a "safe haven" for everyone and vowed domestic abusers will be punished for their crimes.
She said: "I am acutely aware that the necessary guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation may leave the victims of hidden crime, such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, feeling especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed.
"And now schools are closed, millions of children are spending more time online than they otherwise would have and may be even more vulnerable to online predators.
"My message to every potential victim is simple: we have not forgotten you and we will not let you down. And my message to every perpetrator is equally simple: you will not get away with your crimes."
The advice that has been given for people who are in isolation and feel that they or their children are at any risk of harm is to call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline or contact one of the domestic violence charities.
National Domestic Abuse Helpline is still operating throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and Domestic Violence Charities in Lancashire have confirmed that phone lines will remain open whilst people are self-isolating.
Refuges also remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused. This encompasses abuse, which is physically, emotionally, or otherwise.
Lancashire Police Force have confirmed that it is business as normal and they continue to deal with crime and keep the public safe.