Coronavirus: website on domestic violence has multiplied by 10, according to a charity

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Media captionFear of potential increase in lockout abuse

The charity that runs the national domestic violence helpline has multiplied the number of visits to its website by 10 in the past two weeks.

According to Refuge, the numbers have “risen significantly” since it started recording increases during the lockout.

The charity said the foreclosure itself does not cause domestic violence but “can worsen preexisting behavior in an abusive partner.”

Police figures suggest a wide regional variation in abuse reporting.

Fears that the social conditions created by the closure of the coronavirus could lead to an outbreak of domestic violence have led the government to increase funding for services by £ 76 million.

Legend

The national domestic abuse hotline can be contacted online as well as by phone


Refuge said that in the past three consecutive weeks, it has seen a 66% increase in calls to its help line and a 957% increase in web traffic in the past two weeks.

Sandra Horley, Executive Director of Refuge, said that the lives of women victims of domestic violence depend on the hotline and the website, which allows them to request a safe time to be contacted.

“The large number of women seeking specialized support shows how essential Refugee services are,” she added.

Data from 41 British police forces released to the BBC under freedom of information laws show that an additional 19 domestic violence calls were recorded in March 2020 compared with the same month the year last, while 22 registered a decrease.

The figure includes only the first full week of the lockout announced on March 23.

Suffolk police received 1,114 calls in March 2020, 58% more than the 703 in the same month last year.

However, the force told the BBC that the increase was due to a recent change in the way it records domestic violence.

In a statement, Suffolk police said: “We used to record an obvious domestic incident” previously “as a domestic, but when, for example, an assault had been reported and it was not a apparent family incident, it could have been closed without the servant. tag added.

“The change we made in January now sees these less obvious reports also being labeled as domestic incidents. “

Domestic violence calls for 999 and 111

Police forces with the highest increase in the percentage of calls in March 2020 compared to March 2019

Domestic violence consultant Clare Walker said the disparity was due in part to the fact that some police forces did not recognize coercive control as a form of abuse.

Coercive control, which was made a criminal offense in 2015, can involve the abuser using non-violent methods such as bullying and humiliation to deprive the victim of independence and to regulate his daily behavior.

Ms. Walker said, “The police mistakenly record domestic abuse – I know they do it by reading their newspapers … insults and the like are not recorded as domestic abuse. “

Domestic violence calls for 999 and 111

Police forces with the highest percentage drop in calls in March 2020 compared to March 2019

Nottinghamshire police experienced the largest year-over-year proportional decline with 1,824 calls in March 2019 and 1,161 in the corresponding month in 2020, a decrease of 36%.

Deputy Chief Louisa Rolfe, who is the head of the National Council of Chiefs of Police for Domestic Violence, said that forces across the country “are doing a lot of proactive and innovative work.”

“Many other crimes have dropped dramatically, while domestic violence has remained at the level we expected,” she said.

“It is difficult at this stage to fully assess whether this increase in the demand for telephone assistance is due to the prevalence of domestic violence in the communities, or to increased awareness and communication, or other factors.

“It could be, at least in part, that helplines provide a much wider range of services than the police, which focus on protection and prosecution. “

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