We are living in unprecedented times. Not since the Second World War have people been asked to make such sacrifices with regards to their social freedoms. The Government’s advice concerning social distancing over the past few weeks has meant that most people are no longer leaving the house to go to work, and families are spending almost 24/7 together in their own homes, with potentially very limited interaction with the outside world.
How has the coronavirus affected domestic abuse?
Whilst this situation undoubtedly presents difficult and unfamiliar challenges for everyone, for some it has placed an intolerable pressure on an already pressurised home environment. Government figures estimate that 1.6 million women and 786,000 men in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse last year. Reports from China during their lockdown period showed a huge surge in cases of domestic violence. Domestic abusers thrive in atmospheres where they are able to isolate their partners or children from wider family and friends. Being in ‘lockdown’ has presented abusers with the perfect opportunity to further distance their victims from support and to minimise the chances of other people becoming suspicious of their behaviour.
Domestic abuse comes in many forms and does not solely involve the use of violence. Other examples of domestic abuse include:
- Coercive control – a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control
- Psychological and/or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial or economic abuse
If you are experiencing any form of domestic abuse and require advice and support in times of the coronavirus crisis and beyond, please do not hesitate to seek assistance from the following organisations:
National Domestic Abuse Helpline (24-hour service run by Refuge): 0808 200 0247
Rape Crisis (England and Wales): 0808 802 9999 (12:00-14:30 and 19:00-21:30 every day)
ManKind Initiative (Helping men escape domestic abuse): 01823 334244 (10:00-16:00 Mon-Fri)
R.I.S.E. (Independent Domestic Abuse Charity in Brighton): 01273 622828 (9:00-17:00 Mon-Fri)
The Portal (advice and support for survivors of abuse and violence in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex): 0300 323 9985
If you are in immediate danger, you should call the Police on 999. If you are worried about the ongoing safety of someone else and wish to report your concerns, you should contact the Police on 101.
If you wish to speak to a member of the Family team concerning an abusive relationship and what legal options might be available to you, including:
- applying for a Non-Molestation Order to stop your partner from being physically violent or aggressive, or verbally abusive or exerting coercive control over you
- applying for an Occupation Order to stop your partner from returning to the family home, or to make them leave the family home or restrict them to certain parts of the family home then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01273 249200.