14 Apr 2020

Child Care

Family & Matrimonial

Domestic Abuse: a 25% increase in new enquiries since lockdown

While many of us are struggling with the disruption of having to stay at home, for the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from domestic abuse across the UK, the current lockdown is much more than an inconvenience.

For many, being isolated from friends and family without being able to leave their abuser means they are being held captive in their own homes, feeling like they have nowhere to turn.

Siobhan Downes, a Partner and Head of the Childcare Department at Harding Evans Solicitors, discusses the worrying rise in Domestic Abuse cases and explains the vital help that is available to victims during these frightening times.

Domestic Violence cases rise by 25% during lockdown

Unsurprisingly, the number of enquiries relating to domestic abuse cases has soared since the UK entered lockdown on March 24th.  Sadly, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help, as hundreds of thousands of victims are having to be locked up 24/7 with their abusers.

Not only are these people more vulnerable to domestic abuse because of the heightened stress of the lockdown, but they are also finding it much more difficult to make an emergency phone call and to access support services to potentially escape the situation.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as ‘an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer’.

Many people think that domestic abuse means physical abuse, but it can actually be inflicted in a number of ways – from physical abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse to emotional/mental abuse and financial abuse – all of which are incredibly painful and distressing.

Domestic Violence can also affect others around you

Domestic abuse also has a huge effect on the family and friends of victims, and in particular, children who witness it first-hand.  As well as putting a child’s safety at risk, it can also have a lasting impact on their emotional wellbeing and development in later stages of life. Worryingly, studies have shown that adults who witnessed domestic abuse as a child are far more likely to experience abuse by a partner themselves in their adult lives.

What can be done to help victims?

Domestic abuse is a criminal act that ruins lives. At Harding Evans, we are here to help you. With our experience, our support and our insistence upon total confidentiality, we can help you get out of an abusive relationship.

  • We can act quickly to get court orders in place, making it illegal for your abuser to be near you, your family or your property;
  • We can request that you receive police protection against your abuser;
  • We can put you in touch with a range of organisations, all dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse;
  • We can give you all the advice you need, and make sure you are aware of all the options available to you;
  • We can support you in bringing criminal prosecutions against your abuser.

Get in touch…

Our specialist team of family solicitors provide year-round guidance and representation to clients who are victims of abuse wanting to change their situation.

We provide direct and sympathetic advice to those who need it most in difficult circumstances, as well as linking our clients to local support services to help them to make the changes they need to make.

Please don’t suffer alone. If you are feeling trapped or worried about your situation, call us on 07816 452117 and speak to one of our dedicated, experienced solicitors in confidence to talk through your options.

 

 

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