During the current coronavirus ‘stay at home’ situation one of the concerns is that there will be a further increase in reports of domestic abuse.
During the first lockdown in the UK there were increases of more than 50% in calls to the National Domestic Violence helpline, and locally in Cambridgeshire an 11% increase in high-risk referrals, compared to 2019.
In December, Cambridgeshire police joined the national initiative to crackdown on domestic abuse and encourage more people to report on incidents.
During the 16 Days of Action to End Domestic Violence campaign, to encourage more victims to continue reporting abuse after a rise of over 20% in domestic violence crimes.
In Peterborough, 57 domestic abuse related arrests were made and 182 crimes recorded during the 16 Days of Action.
Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council Cabinet Member for Communities said: “We want to make sure that despite the conditions people know that our support services are available for those that may need them. Please stay safe and contact specialist support services or the police if you are suffering any form of domestic abuse, sexual violence or coercive behaviour.”
Councillor Lina Nieto, Cambridgeshire County Council Lead Member for Community Safety and Domestic Violence said: “As a White Ribbon champion, domestic abuse of all kinds is constantly in my mind. Under current rules for Covid-19, families will be under new and different pressures which could put vulnerable people in a heightened risk of domestic abuse.”
If you are worried about a friend, neighbour or friend please make sure they know where to access support and keep in telephone contact with them to make sure they are okay. In an emergency always contact the police on 999.
SafeLives, the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, has some useful resources on domestic abuse and Covid-19 on its website, which is regularly updated.
· A guide for staying safe during Covid-19 for victims and survivors
· Advice for people experiencing domestic abuse with links to helplines and online support
· Resources for parents and children
· Tips from survivors of domestic abuse to support wellbeing
· Guidance for professionals
As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police.
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact local specialist services. Cambridge Women’s Aid offers support to those living in Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire. Visit the Cambridge Women's Aid website or call 01223 361 214. Refuge support those living in Huntingdonshire, Fenland and Peterborough. Visit the Refuge website or call 07787 255 821. The Hestia charity also launched a campaign last year for victims of domestic abuse to access safe spaces at pharmacies across the UK to access specialist support and advice.
More information on these services and other support for those experiencing domestic abuse can be found on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website.