As previously feared, there has been a rise in domestic abuse cases during COVID-19, a police leader has warned.
Baroness Beverley Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing and crime, said authorities were preparing for an increase in serious domestic incidents after the government announced a three-week lockdown.
After a meeting of the region’s COVID-19 emergency committee, Baroness Hughes said “I think we are beginning to see a risk in domestic abuse incidents. We anticipated this might happen in the very stressful circumstances for many families.”
She later said the overall level of domestic abuse cases was expected, but that officers were classifying incidents believed to have a connection to the virus.
She said “The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are call to. We are preparing for that. Some of those most serious incidents will be challenging to deal with, particularly if the victim needs to be moved to a refuge, but the police specialise in these kinds of cases and the local partners, local authorities, they’re working together really closely to prepare for that.”
On Tuesday 24 March 2020, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told the Commons Justice Committee that the UK may see more cases of domestic abuse, as well as online crime and fraud, during the pandemic.
Other police force areas have also raised concerns; Avon and Somerset Police has reported a 20.9% increase in domestic abuse incidents in the last two weeks – from 718 to 868 and in Cumbria, police officers have asked postal workers and delivery drivers for help in looking out for signs of potential abuse.
As reported previously, reports from China suggest that the coronavirus has already caused a significant spoke in domestic violence; local police stations say they have seen a threefold increase in cases reported in February 2020 alone compared with the previous year.
As before, whilst the Family Court may be now hearing cases remotely, that doesn’t mean that the Court isn’t open for business, far from it, and access to justice remains open to all that require it.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse and or violence and feel trapped given the current guidance to remain living at home, then at Prism Family Law, we can help.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.