We have all been through quite a turbulent year as we found new ways of living with the global pandemic. We have had to change the way we work, how we go about our daily lives, and have been cut off from the people we love. Home became a place, for many where we stayed 24/7 working, homeschooling, living and socialising.
However, for many people, home was and is not a place of safety. Unfortunately, for some families, domestic abuse is an all too familiar feature in their day to day life. Data from the domestic abuse charity SafeLives shows that 25% of people surveyed, rated their safety at home as less than 5 out of 10. Although there is limited official data so far on the impact of domestic violence during lockdown, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report that in mid-May 2020, there was a 12% increase in the number of domestic violence during lockdown cases referred to victim support. Between April and June 2020, there was a 65% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, compared to the first three months of that year.
Domestic abuse is often a hidden crime that is not always reported immediately by the victims, however that does not mean that there are not steps that can be taken to protect you and your family if you are or have been a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic Abuse can happen in many different ways, it can be physical, psychological, financial, sexual, or controlling and coercive behaviour. It can happen over a period of time or be one isolated incident.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, aims to clarify the definition of domestic abuse and also to afford victims better protection when making applications to Court for protection or attending Court as part of any proceedings that their perpetrator will also be involved with. Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner warned that “legislation won’t change things overnight, but it paves the way for a new beginning.”
There are various options available to you if believe you are a victim of domestic violence during lockdown and seek protection. By contacting the Police, the options through the Criminal Courts can be explored, and by contacting a Family Solicitor options through the Family Courts can be looked into. The Family Court’s can offer protection by way of Court Orders which can control who lives in the family home or prohibiting the perpetrator from contacting you and if necessary, children who may have witnessed this abuse, and are now by law classed as victims of domestic abuse for witnessing such events.
At Bendles Solicitors, our Family Law Specialists often advise victims of domestic abuse to the best way to protect themselves and their families from further harm. If you need protection from a partner, ex-partner, family member or someone with who you share parental responsibility for a child, our team of experienced solicitors can help you and will act with urgency and discretion. Find out more here.
If YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 999 or call the Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247 for confidential, non-judgemental information and support.