Domestic abuse victims are allowed to leave home to seek help at refuges despite rules to stop coronavirus spreading, says the home secretary Priti Patel.
Patel recognised that the current restrictions ensuring people stay indoors were even harder for people whose “home is not the safe haven it should be….I am acutely aware that the necessary guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation may leave the victims of hidden crime, such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, feeling especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed.”
Around the world, as cities have gone into lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus, the mass efforts to save lives have meant that adults and children who live with domestic abuse have no escape from their abusers. From Brazil to Germany, Italy to China, activists and survivors say they are already seeing an alarming rise in domestic abuse. Police in this country have reported there has already been a rise in abuse since the crisis began, and the National Domestic Violence Helpline has already received more calls than usual.
Patel was keen to let perpetrators know that: “You will not get away with your crimes.” She was clear that: “my message to every potential victim is simple: we have not forgotten you and we will not let you down.”
The Government has apparently given £1.6 billion to local councils to help those in need. Their advice is clear:
“Whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused – whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise.”
Whilst the first port of call in an emergency situation should still be the police, at Family Law in Partnership our specialist family lawyers are able to offer support and options if you are faced with domestic abuse.