Over the course 2020, it has been widely reported that domestic abuse cases have increased since the country went into lockdown in March. The charity Refuge recently reported that calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline have increased “week on week” over the course of the year, and demand for its services is still increasing.
During both the first and second lockdowns, many people suddenly found themselves isolating with others who cause them physical or emotional harm. Such harm includes coercive and controlling behaviour, such as threats and intimidation. Refuge has reported that there has also been a significant increase in “tech abuse” over lockdown, whereby technology such as webcams are used to harass and intimidate others. It is also important to be aware that domestic abuse can be experienced by both men and women, of any sexual orientation and of any age.
Whilst many of us are looking forward to some festive cheer, being able to see our friends and families and form a “Christmas bubble”, for others the Christmas period means spending more time with those who cause them harm and lead to an increased feeling of isolation. Domestic abuse cases usually increase over times when families and couples spend more time together at home. With the Government’s new coronavirus restrictions in place in the form of a tier system, the already high figures of domestic abuse are likely to increase. Further, with children back at home for the Christmas holidays, their safety will be a concern for parents living with an abusive spouse or partner.
What you can do
Speak to someone – it is important to seek help if you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse. You could contact someone you can trust, such as a family member or friend, to let them know what is happening. If you feel unable to do this, there are many organisations and services that offer support and advice for victims of domestic abuse. These include:
• Refuge and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline– 0808 2000 247 (open 24 hours)
• The National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0800 970 2070
• Women’s Aid – 0808 200 0247 and a specialist Covid-19 resource at https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-resource-hub-support-resources/
• Respect Men’s Advice Line – 0808 8010327
Please get in touch with our family law experts at Moore Barlow, either by email or telephone, and we can advise you on your circumstances and how best to protect you.
Call 999 – call the police if you or someone you know is at immediate risk of domestic abuse.