ONE UNFORESEEN side effect of the Coronavirus Lockdown has been an increase in the incidence of domestic violence. The Metropolitan Police have been keen to point out that they are playing a part in rescuing victims and apprehending alleged perpetrators.
Reports of domestic violence, whether made by victims or by those close to them, are being prioritised by the Metropolitan Police, who are working with other agencies who can help. During the first six weeks of the Lockdown, the number of phone calls the Metropolitan Police received in connection with domestic abuse rose by one third. Recorded incidents of domestic abuse were up by 9% compared with the same six weeks in 2019. Just over 4,000 arrests on suspicion of offences connected with domestic abuse were made across the capital.
To help the public understand the reality behind the statistics, police have released details of their responses to two domestic abuse reports in East London.
●Officers attended an address in East London after a domestic assault victim reported being threatened by her partner. Police checks on the partner revealed he was linked to firearms. Officers located him within three hours of receiving the report and searched his vehicle, finding two sawn-off shotguns. A cannabis factory was also discovered. The man was subsequently charged and is awaiting trial.
●Officers were called to assist a domestic abuse victim in east London who was pregnant and had gone to a hospital to seek refuge. Her partner had assaulted and tormented her. He was quickly arrested. She was unwilling to support criminal action, but due to the evidence captured on Body Worn Video and the witness accounts from staff at the hospital, the Crown Prosecution Service supported a victimless prosecution. The suspect is awaiting trial.
Commander Sue Williams, the Metropolitan Police Lead Officer for Safeguarding, said, “The COVID-19 restrictions and ‘stay at home’ instruction is vital to managing this public health crisis, but unfortunately it has also left current and potential victims of domestic abuse even more vulnerable and isolated.
“I want to stress that the Met is still here for Londoners – no one who is experiencing domestic abuse should feel that they have to suffer in silence. The COVID-19 pandemic does not mean that victims can’t count on us, or that we won’t keep being proactive in bringing offenders to justice.
“Victims should be assured that they can leave their homes to escape harm or seek help, and they will not be penalized in any way for not maintaining social distancing, or otherwise breaching COVID-19 restrictions. Our prime concern is protecting victims and others who are affected, and bringing offenders to justice. We work with victims to discuss options and put them in contact with the appropriate support services.
“We want victims to have confidence that they will get the support and protection they need, and that officers will deal with perpetrators. If you have reason to believe that a family member, friend or neighbour is a victim of domestic abuse, we would urge you to contact police, or Crimestoppers if you want to give information anonymously – your call could protect someone from serious harm or save a life.”
The following sources of help and support are available to those suffering domestic abuse or who believe someone they know is suffering.
●The 24/7 National Domestic Abuse helpline: 0808-2000 247
This offers support to victims and people affected by domestic abuse and is free to call.
●The Respect Phoneline: 0808-8024040
This provides confidential advice and support to help perpetrators stop being violent and abusive and is free to call.
●Men’s Advice Line: 0808-801 0327
This is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and those supporting them. Support is also available on:
●Karma Nirvana: 0800-5999 247
This line is open from Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm, and offers support to victims of
honour based abuse and forced marriage. Support is also available on:
●Hour Glass: 0808 808 8141
This services deals with the abuse of older people in all its forms. Further information is also available on:
●Galop LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
More information is available on:
●Childline: 0800 1111
The service offers support to children or young peoples who are experiencing domestic abuse at home or in a relationship.
●For more information about support services that are available, go to:
●For government guidance aimed at people in danger of domestic abuse during coronavirus, go to