Coronavirus: Domestic abuse reports to Crimestoppers surge 50% amid lockdown

17 April 2020, 18:51

Crimestoppers said it sent 120 reports of abuse to police, up from the average of 80.4 per week
Crimestoppers said it sent 120 reports of abuse to police, up from the average of 80.4 per week. Picture: PA

Reports of domestic violence have surged nearly 50 per cent amid the coronavirus lockdown, according to data from Crimestoppers.

The charity said it had sent 120 reports of domestic abuse to police in the week beginning 6 April, which is up from the weekly average of 80.4 such reports in the months before lockdown.

This marks a total increase of 49.3% of domestic abuse reports it sent to police during the specific period.

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Alexa Loukas, the Crimestoppers London regional manager, acknowledged that isolation in an abusive household "must be terrifying, and you must feel so alone, that there is no one to help you.

"This is where we can step forward if we know of someone suffering in silence," she said.

"Often in cases of domestic abuse, people are aware but struggle to know what to do to help."

Crimestoppers is now encouraging people to come forward if they are worried about a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour being in danger.

The latest data comes after Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said earlier this week that 16 suspected deaths as a result of domestic abuse had been recorded in the last three weeks by the counting dead women project.

This marks an average of around five killings a week - up from a usual average of two.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council Martin Hewitt said there had also been a 3% increase in reported domestic violence offences in England and Wales in the weeks leading up to 12 April, compared to the same period last year.

Commander Sue Williams, who works in safeguarding with the Metropolitan Police, said the force was "absolutely committed" to protecting those at risk of such violence.

"It is more important than ever for people to look out for one another," she said.

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Women's Aid has said it is, so far, too early to determine whether referrals to its organisation have increased since lockdown, but said it was "concerned" about reports of surges in violence.

It said: "We are monitoring this unprecedented situation and are currently collective and analysing data from over 70 domestic violence services in England and all our referral services."

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A spokesperson from the Home Office also said protecting those at risk of domestic abuse had been made "a priority at this time", and said it was "taking action together with law enforcement and charities to help victims of these awful crimes.

"We are looking at all options with the police, charities, frontline workers and retailers to support and protect people, but if someone is in danger they should call the police and can disregard orders to stay at home if they need to seek immediate refuge.

"There is also a wide range of support available for victims, including the national domestic abuse helpline, which is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by a dedicated team of experts."

:: Crimestoppers is asking those with concerns to pass on information anonymously at the charity's UK contact centre on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org

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