25 March 2020

The increased risk of domestic abuse due to isolation and Covid-19 – and what you can do

As a result of the recent lockdown in the UK due to the threat of Covid-19, most of us are now in isolation in a collective effort to stem the spread of the virus.

We know that domestic violence cases increase at times when people spend more time in their homes and with their families, for example at Christmas.

Many of us will be with those we love in a safe, caring home. However, many people will now be forced to isolate with those who cause them physical or mental harm.

Other issues resulting from Covid-19 such as financial stress, employment concerns and reduced income are likely to raise tensions even further.

It is not just spouses and partners who are at risk. With children at home while schools are closed, the safety of children who live with abusers will be increasingly threatened by being in isolation.

What you can do if you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse during the lockdown

Physical violence may go unnoticed due to people staying indoors. Domestic abuse also includes coercive and controlling behaviour – this includes intimidation, threats, limiting someone’s independence and restricting their ability to speak to others. If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, there are several ways to access advice and support.

Speak to a legal professional

Legal professionals across the family law spectrum are still working, and the courts are still functioning. We can talk you through your circumstances and discuss how best to move forward and keep you safe. We can also advise you on the most recent guidance from the Family Courts about the court hearings that can still take place (whether at court or remotely) and how this may affect your case. If you need guidance or advice, please do not hesitate to telephone us.

Speak to a friend or family member

If you feel threatened and fear for your safety, call or text someone you know and can trust. If you think that someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, get in touch with them to see if you can help.

Contact an organisation that can help you

There are many organisations and services, which are open for business as usual, that you can give you professional advice. They also provide specific Covid-19 guidance. Some of the key ones are:

  • Refuge – 0808 2000 247 (open 24 hours)
  • The National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0800 970 2070
  • Women’s Aid – 0808 200 0247 and a Live Chat platform.

Call 999

If you or someone you know is at immediate and serious risk of domestic abuse, you should contact the police immediately.

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About the Author
Annabel Bond, Solicitor

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