Domestic abuse on the rise
The charity, which has been supporting women and children escaping domestic violence since 1971, has recorded an unprecedented increase in demand for its services. Domestic violence is a serious problem in the UK, with almost 1 in 4 women experiencing it during their lifetime, and 2 women being killed every week by their current or former partner.
Since lockdown was introduced their Helpline has taken over 40,000 calls, with call volumes rising by 77% in June. This trend was reflected in an 800% increase in the use of Refuge’s domestic abuse website, where women experiencing domestic violence can access support if they are unable to call the Helpline.
There has also been a spike in the number of women seeking emergency accommodation, with July seeing an increase of more than 50% compared with the same time last year.
In May Refuge launched a new ‘live chat’ facility, an innovative ‘silent’ method of accessing support. It has already proved very popular with abuse survivors, many of whom have found it difficult to make a telephone call in privacy during the pandemic. The charity’s live chat team can deal with queries in real time, even while perpetrators are in the house. The facility includes a ‘quick exit’ button enabling users to terminate a conversation in an emergency.
It is believed that many women who have experienced domestic abuse remained with their partners during lockdown. As restrictions have eased, these women have begun to make plans to leave their abuser, leading to an increase in demand for emergency refuge accommodation.
You can contact Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to access their live chat facility.
Our own Jen law, a solicitor specialising in domestic abuse, has been appointed under the Domestic Abuse Act to undertake court appointed cross-examination in domestic abuse cases.
For legal advice on domestic abuse in Devon and Somerset you can call our own free helpline on 0333 888 0404 or send an email in confidence to us at [email protected]