For most, home is a safe sanctuary in time of difficulty, stress and uncertainty. But for those who experience domestic violence, or those children that either experience or observe abuse, home is often a place of violence, danger and fear.
Coupled with the government's latest 'social distancing' guidance, it is thought that there will be a surge in reports of domestic violence and child abuse as families spend an increased amount of time together. Perpetrators of abuse could have the ability to restrict their partner's freedom and threaten their and their children's safety, leaving them isolated, vulnerable and exposed. To exacerbate the problem further, this will happen at a time when support services are struggling to function due to the same government guidance. Whilst self- isolation is key in the fight against Covid-19, it will shut down routes to support and safety, limiting the options available for victims to seek help.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to help those vulnerable stuck at home with domestic abusers during the lockdown and confirmed that whilst the government advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges will remain open, and the police will offer support to all individuals being abused - whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise.
There are also a number of helplines and organisations that are available to assist victims:
- Women's Aid (080 200 0247)
- ManKind Initiative (01823 334244)
- Leeway (0300 561 0077)
If you or a member of your family are affected by any of the issues raised above, please contact a member of our Family Law team on 01603 620508 to discuss further.