21 April, 2020
A recent study has reported that in the three weeks between 23 March 2020 and 12 April 2020, 13 women and 3 children have been murdered at the hands of their partner, ex-partner or father. The current statistics show that this has more than doubled, from two victims murdered each week by their abusive partner, to 5 per week.
The author of the report, Karen Ingala Smith, says that the lockdown is not "creating" abusive partners, however it does mean that the ability to seek help is restricted, as the victim may not have any time to themselves to allow them to contact a support service, or the police.
In addition to this, reports of domestic abuse have increased significantly. Refuge, which is the largest domestic abuse charity in the UK, reported a 120% increase in calls in a 24-hour period. Refuge provides help and advice, along with referrals to refuges for victims (regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation or race) who need to flee their home due to domestic violence. Refuge have a free 24-hour helpline, 0808 2000 247.
A helpline for male victims, The Men's Advice Line has had an increase in calls of 16.6%, with the traffic on their website increasing by 42%.
It is anticipated that there will be a significant increase of victims seeking help and assistance once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. However, it is important for victims to be aware that despite the restrictions, the Family Court remains open and we are still able to apply for protective injunctions on behalf of our clients, to provide them with protection from their abusers.
Support agencies, Police, Hostels, and Charities are all still operating to support people who may be in an abusive relationship. You can now telephone 999 from a mobile phone, wait for them to answer and then press 55 and then disconnect. This will alert the police that you are in danger and they will come immediately.
Domestic Abuse helplines:
Learn more about our Family/Divorce department here