Domestic abuse victims urged to keep seeking help during coronavirus outbreak

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says domestic abuse will remain a police priority despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Apr 4, 2020
By Paul Jacques
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe

Figures from countries further ahead in the coronavirus outbreak show a rise in domestic abuse linked to stay at home advice, with incidents in China increasing by a third during the outbreak. And while crime statistics in this country do not yet show an increase, police believe it will rise.

The NPCC lead for domestic abuse, Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, said today (April 4) that people facing violence or controlling behaviour at home should still report their experiences to police or seek advice and support from a local domestic abuse service. She said officers would still attend calls for help and arrest perpetrators despite the additional pressures on the service.

“These are very challenging times for us all and while the Government’s advice to stay home is sensible and will save lives, it is important to recognise that for some people home is not a safe place,” added Ms Rolfe.

“For those already living with domestic abuse these restrictions will have left them fearful of being even further isolated and left at home with their abuser. They may feel like there is nowhere to go for help and are now unable to meet the family and friends who act as a support network. It’s really important people know there is still support and help available.”

Ms Rolfe said she had been working with charities and they were doing everything they could to make sure helplines and web chat services continue to be available.

Nicki Norman, acting chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “While Covid-19 is closing down opportunities for face-to-face support, it is vital that everyone knows that help is still available.

“Specialist domestic abuse services are working tirelessly to support women and children during this time. We are fighting to ensure the Government and all of our public services put survivors at the centre of their responses to Covid-19. We welcome today’s reassurance from the police that domestic abuse remains their priority during the pandemic.”

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