Covid-19: Isolation and Domestic Abuse
With the current Covid-19 pandemic resulting in an ongoing lockdown it is not surprising that there has been a surge in incidents of domestic abuse. Calls to domestic abuse helplines have soared with the National Domestic Abuse helpline reporting a 120% increase in the number of calls received in one 24-hour period. This is hardly surprising considering a perpetrator often seek to isolate their victim. If a victim is physically isolated with no means of escape, their contact with friends and family becomes severely restricted, increasing the danger and reducing the likelihood of them seeking support.
As a result of these concerning statistics, the government have now launched a public awareness campaign #YOUARENOTALONE and injected £2 million in funding for domestic abuse services. In addition, the rules of isolation for victims of domestic abuse has been clarified as follows: The household isolation instruction as a result of covid-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse. This enables a victim of domestic abuse to leave a dangerous situation and travel to safety at a refuge.
It is important that victims know that they are not alone and even though we are currently in lockdown, they can still access support and guidance during this period. There are numerous resources to help victims of domestic abuse during this time.
Help and Resources
Please call 999 if you are in immediate danger. If you are unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without having to speak to you.
Women’s Aid provides an online chat service, email support, survivors handbook and a chat forum to support victims.
In addition, on 4th March 2020, Women’s Aid introduced a new ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme which offers free train travel to women fleeing domestic abuse. This is supported by South Eastern and Great Western Railway. www.womensaid.org.uk
Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service (PDAS)
Due to the covid-19 pandemic PDAS are now ensuring that their telephone lines are manned 24-hours a day.
PDAS: 0800 458 2558 Refuge: 01752 562 286
Safe Lives have produced guidance for victims and survivors during the isolation period: https://safelives.org.uk/staying-safe-during-covid-19-guidance. This provides helpful guidance on how to manage the isolation period if you are a victim.
The Legal Aid Agency has also made amendments to the requirements of evidence abuse in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This is in order to make it easier for victims of domestic and child abuse to access legal aid during the Covid-19 outbreak. These changes give as much flexibility as possible within the existing legislation.
At Wolferstans, we remain fully open and operating from home. If you require any help or assistance, we can advise you as to your options moving forward. Whilst the courts are mostly closed, many hearings are still taking place by telephone or video hearing and we at Wolferstans have already undertaken many hearings in this format.
If you would require any further information to protect you or your family, contact us on 01752 663295 or visit our website on www.wolferstans.com.