Risk of increased domestic abuse as a result of Covid-19 restrictions
In these unprecedented times of social distancing, working from home, and self-isolation, the news from Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor, Beverley Hughes, that there have reports of abuse linked to the restrictions is perhaps not surprising, but an extremely important alert to vulnerable persons and those charged with assisting them, including Family Law practitioners.
Indeed, one only has to look at China to see the positive correlation between the restrictions and domestic abuse cases as there was a threefold increase of reported cases to police stations in February 2020 when compared with February 2019.
Sadly, where persons are stuck in a house together for a longer period than usual, the risk of a situation becoming abusive is inevitably higher. It is therefore now more important than ever to emphasise that you are not alone if you are in a situation of abuse: help is out there. At the outset, it is important to understand that abuse is not limited to physical abuse; rather it includes, but is not limited to, any controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and emotional abuse.
Covid-19 may have curtailed people’s freedom, but it has not removed the availability of parties to offer assistance should you require it. You are able to discreetly seek help via Apps that helpfully disguise themselves if you are worried about your partner checking your phone, the police, your local authority, charities who support abuse victims such as the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Family Law solicitors. As Family Law solicitors, we are well placed to offer support and guidance regarding legal solutions to protect you and your family as necessary. We suggest you do also always keep in mind your contingency plan to leave the property immediately should you need to. If you are concerned about your immediate safety, we encourage you to call the police.
If you have any queries regarding any matters arising from this article, please contact a member of the Family and Divorce team on 020 8280 2713 who would be pleased to speak with you.
Written by Claire Oldfield – Solicitor