Domestic violence in lockdown: an increasing concernAug 24, 2020
Category: Domestic Violence
In the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults experienced a form of domestic violence. But things have got worse since then. Much worse. It’s widely recognised that the Coronavirus lockdown has been responsible for the worsening situation.
BBC’s Panorama reported that someone called the police for help regarding domestic violence every 30 seconds during the first 7 weeks of lockdown.
Women’s Aid reported in April 2020 that 72% of women responding to their Women’s Aid Survivor Survey said that their abuser has more control over their life since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Respect Men’s Advice Line for male domestic abuse victims reported a 65% increase in calls during the first three months of lockdown.
Greater legal protections available
Family Courts hear from some of the most vulnerable members of society and deal with extremely personal issues. On 25 June 2020 the government launched greater protections to victims of domestic abuse in the Family and Civil Courts.
The stronger protections include the following:
- More victims will receive special measures in Court. This will include separate building entrances, waiting rooms and screens, to shield victims from their abuser whilst in Court.
- A Judge will have stronger powers to prevent abusers repeatedly dragging a victim of domestic abuse back to Court. It’s widely accepted that this is just another form of domestic abuse.
- A new investigative Court process will be trialled to try and reduce conflict in Court.
The Domestic Abuse Bill
These changes reflect some of the measures that are included in the Domestic Abuse Bill. And this is currently being considered by Parliament. The Bill has passed the House of Commons stage and is now before the House of Lords.
The Bill includes the following landmark provisions:
- Provide a legal definition of domestic abuse;
- Establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner;
- Provide a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order;
- Prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in Court;
- Place a duty on the Local Authorities in England to provide support to victims and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation; and
- Bring the case of R v Brown into legislation. If a victim is badly hurt or even killed, this removes any future defence of consent.
Once it becomes law, we hope that the Domestic Abuse Bill will give further increased protection to victims of domestic abuse both inside and outside of Court.
How we can help you
From everyone that we have talked to, it’s clear that these figures are pretty accurate. Domestic violence in lockdown has worsened considerably.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, then please, get in touch with us so that we can help. We have a highly experienced team that can help you put in place protection to ensure your safety. Contact us now on 01752 827030, or email [email protected]