How did Lockdown impact Domestic abuse helplines?
There has been a 25% increase in the number of calls and online requests made to the National Domestic Abuse helpline according to the charity Refuge.
There is a well established correlation between extended family time at home and an increase in domestic abuse, with the Christmas holidays being the obvious example when incidents of domestic abuse traditionally reach their highest in the year.
Campaigners have been concerned that the restrictions imposed as part of the strategy to deal with the Coronavirus could increase domestic tensions in households throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, resulting in higher incidents of domestic abuse and extreme violence including homicide. Isolation is a technique used by perpetrators of abuse, who often seek to exert control by cutting their victims off from the rest of the world to increase their dependency on the perpetrator and to reduce their options to raise the alarm or escape.
The current restrictions mean that many victims of abuse will have even further restrictions on their freedom. Domestic abuse survivor Rachel Williams says domestic abuse will never be ‘eradicated’ and that “we’ve got an epidemic at the moment in the UK, with a pandemic on top.”
Support is still available for victims of domestic abuse. For help, information and advice contact:
- Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak
- Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414
Legal assistance is also still available in the form of Injunctive Orders, Non Molestation and Occupation Orders without the need to attend Court in the current situation.