While the whole country grapples with the consequences of Covid-19, spare a thought for the huge dangers lurking behind closed doors for victims of domestic abuse and violence.
Home in the time of the coronavirus pandemic is a dangerous place for some, and the lockdown has, isolated victims of domestic abuse from supportive and protective relationships, by locking them in with their abuser.
In Kent 50,159 domestic abuse related incidents and crimes were recorded in 2018/19 by Kent Police , according to data from the Office of National Statistics(ONS).
To put that into perspective that is more than the people living within the boundary of Tunbridge Wells, according to latest ONS population data.
Just 1,737 or 3.5% of these domestic abuse related incidents and crimes ended up in a successful prosecution, according to data from the ONS.
Unfortunately, there is likely to be a rise in domestic abuse incidents during the lockdown.
So what does the law say during the time of covid-19 lockdown?
Regulation 6 states that “reasonable excuse” includes:
Leaving the house to access “critical public services.” This includes social services and services provided to those at risk.
Leaving the house to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.
So someone leaving the house to avoid injury, illness or a risk of harm caused by domestic abuse, or to access domestic abuse support services, should have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for doing so.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel said that:
“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.”
So what help is currently on offer from those under threat or suffering domestic violence across Kent during the covid-19 lockdown?
If you are in danger please call 999 immediately or 101 for non-emergencies. 0808 16 89 111 – Victim Support
Bright Sky app, which can be disguised for people worried about partners checking their phones, provided support and information for victims.
Kent County Council can be reached on 03000 416161, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, outside of normal office hours, call 03000 419191.
Refuge service provider for Medway: Contact: 07889 079242
National Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse helpline on: 0800 2000247.
‘The Silent Solution’- if a victim calls 999 from their mobile phone but is unable to speak as the perpetrator is nearby, dial 55 and the operator will direct your call to the police rather than terminating it.
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors: 0808 801 0327
The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK: 0808 808 4994
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
Child’s Vision telephone 01622 244537 or 07561 426203 or email email@example.com.
NSPCC Childline is available 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 Monday to Friday 8am – 10pm and 9am – 6pm at the weekend. Or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shepwayvox Team