Domestic Abuse and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic  

March 27, 2020, By

The current and unprecedented Government lockdown measures mean that the vast majority of people are now confined to their homes.

What does this mean for victims (or those at risk) of domestic abuse?

In reality, it is likely that there will be an increase in domestic abuse generally, mainly as a result of being trapped in a home shared with an abuser. On a practical level, many victims will also be even more fearful of leaving than they usually would, on account of passing on the virus to elderly parents, or others with whom, in more typical circumstances, it might have been possible to stay.

Living under lockdown is also likely to make it more difficult for victims to contact domestic abuse charities and the police directly, particularly where an abuser is controlling their use of technology.

The frequently subtle and insinuating nature of domestic abuse means that victims will often find it incredibly difficult to leave an abuser, and it is likely that the current lockdown will only exacerbate this problem. The provision of a safe space to go is therefore even more vital than ever.

As a result, MPs Jess Phillips and Carolyn Harris, and over 30 women’s rights organisations including the Jo Cox Foundation and Southall Black Sisters, have written to the country’s major hotel chains to request that they offer rooms to victims of domestic abuse.

Over recent years, the police have acquired more extensive powers to combat domestic abuse (particularly in respect of coercive and controlling behaviour from an abuser), however it is also possible to seek protective orders in the Family Court, too. If you are in immediate danger from an abuser, you should always call 999. If you cannot speak out loud, you can then press 55, which will confirm that the call is a genuine emergency.

At Slater Heelis, our family lawyers are specialists regarding domestic abuse and obtaining protective orders. To speak with a member of the team, please call 0161 969 3131 or contact us via our website at https://www.slaterheelis.co.uk/family-law/.