With the ongoing pandemic and the directive that we must stay in doors to stop Coronavirus from spreading, sadly the number of incidents of domestic abuse is feared to be on the rise.
With the Coronavirus impacting on job losses, financial pressures and home schooling, victims may feel that they have no choice to continue to live in isolation. The added concern is that perpetrators may take advantage of isolation by using coercive and controlling behaviour.
The Government has confirmed that its advice on social distancing does not mean that someone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship cannot move to a place of safety. The home secretary, Priti Patel has given a strong message to preparators announcing that they will not get away with their crimes and has reassured victims of domestic abuse that help is available. Priti Patel has said “whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or is experiencing domestic abuse is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open and the police will provide support to individuals who are being abused, whether physically, emotionally or otherwise”.
A lot of help and advice is available online. In Plymouth, local support is available 24 hours a day through Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service. They are offering advice on social media and are now operating a telephone service 24 hours a day on 0800 458 2558.
First Light also provides support to people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence in Devon and Cornwall. They can be contacted on 0300 777 4777.
If you are in immediate danger, then you must dial 999 and seek assistance from the police.
It may be that the police or a domestic abuse support service will advise you to seek the protection of a non-molestation injunction. At Wolferstans, we can advise you of your options and advise you whether you will be entitled to legal aid. The Courts may be closed during the Covid-19 outbreak, but the majority of hearings are still taking place behind closed doors, either by telephone or video hearing. The Courts are prioritising urgent matters and applying for a non-molestation order is likely to fall within that category. At Wolferstans, our staff are working from home and we are still here to support you over the telephone or by video conference. Please contact us on 01752 292288 or visit our website on www.wolferstans.com if you need advice or support to protect you and your family.