Protecting domestic abuse survivors during home ‘lockdown’
We’ve arrested around 400 domestic abuse suspects in the last two weeks and are urging anyone suffering at home during the ‘lockdown’ to seek help.
Officers from our Public Protection Units are out and about on the hunt for people wanted for questioning over domestic assaults, harassment and coercive control offences.
It comes amid concerns the public health instruction to “stay at home to save lives” will lead to a significant increase in domestic abuse incidents.
We’ve recorded a daily average of 119 domestic abuse crimes since the government’s 23 March order restricting outdoor activity to exercise and essential shopping.
That’s only slightly up on our normal average total – but the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests for help.
Superintendent Sally Simpson from our Public Protection Unit, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is always a priority for us – and our officers are out in communities right now looking to arrest suspects and protect vulnerable people.
“We’ve not seen much change in our domestic abuse reporting but we recognise that might change. The public are trying to adjust to remaining indoors for long periods but not everybody has a relationship free of abuse. Not every home, unfortunately, is a safe place.
"One of the things we’re conscious of is that many abuse survivors may use time away from their abuser, like the school run or work, to reach out to police or support services.
“And if those opportunities have largely been removed it could well be sufferers aren’t finding the opportunity to report.”
Supt Simpson urged anyone experiencing domestic abuse to get in touch with the police, charities or victim support agencies.
She added: “If people are worried about how to phone us – perhaps they’re living with their abuser – they can speak to us through Live Chat messaging on our website.
“There is also lots of valuable support and advice online on our website and support groups like Women’s Aid.
“It’s also possible to contact us on 999 without speaking. You will be directed to silent solutions and if you dial 55 when prompted the police will know you need help and are unable to speak. Our call handlers are specially trained to glean information from callers even if they are unable to talk.
“That could be by coughing or tapping the phone in response to questions. We’re here to help and we will do all we can to protect people at risk of domestic abuse or violence.”
People can message us on Live Chat via WMP Online and for more online help search Domestic Abuse on our website.