Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline have increased by an average of 25% since the lockdown measures have been introduced to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the charity Refuge has revealed.
Isolation has potential to aggravate pre-existing behaviours in abusive partners and Refuge has warned of a surge in contacts from people experiencing domestic abuse during lockdown.
Prior to the lockdown measures being introduced, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge, received an average of 270 calls and contacts per day.
However, during the week commencing 30 March, calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by an average of 25%, while hits to the national domestic abuse website increased by 150% during the initial stages of Covid-19 lockdown.
As the UK enters the third week of lockdown measures, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: “Ordinarily, the window for women to seek help is extremely limited. During periods of isolation with their perpetrators, this window narrows further. It is critical that women have alternative, digital ways of accessing help. Refuge wants every woman who needs support to know where and how to access it. If it is too difficult to make a call, women can also access support online, filling in a web form, indicating a safe and secure time to be contacted.”
“Isolation is often used as a tool to abuse – and while the current lockdown has the potential to exacerbate abuse – it is not the reason for it. Domestic abuse is a crime and is ultimately rooted in power and control. Violence is a choice a man makes. He alone is responsible for it,” she added.
Sandra Horley concluded by reminding women experiencing domestic abuse that they are not alone and encouraged anyone experiencing domestic abuse to contact Refuge.
Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247