COVID-19 and the impact on domestic violence

With the ongoing pandemic and the directive that we must “stay in doors” to stop Coronavirus from spreading, sadly the number of incidents of domestic abuse is on the rise.

With the Coronavirus impacting on job losses, financial pressures and home schooling, victims may feel that they have no choice other than tocontinue to live in isolation. The added concern is that perpetrators may take advantage of isolation by using coercive and controlling behaviour.

The Government has confirmed that its advice on social distancing does not mean that someone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship cannot move to a place of safety. The Home Secretary has given a strong message to perpetrators announcing that they will not get away with their crimes and has reassured victims of domestic abuse that help is available. Priti Patel has said “whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or is experiencing domestic abuse is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open and the police will provide support to individuals who are being abused, whether physically, emotionally or otherwise”.

Help and advice is available online, locally and nationally. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership, the National Domestic Abuse helpline (0808 2000 247) and Cambridge Women’s Aid (01223 361214) are just 3 examples.

If you are in immediate danger, then you must dial 999 and seek assistance from the police.

It may be that the police or a domestic abuse support service will advise you to seek the protection of a non-molestation order and/or an occupation order.

At Leeds Day, we can advise you of your options and take action on your behalf where necessary and swiftly. The family court buildings may be closed during the Covid-19 outbreak, but the majority of hearings are still taking place behind closed doors, either by telephone or video hearing. The family courts are prioritising urgent matters and applying for a non-molestation order and/or an occupation order will fall within that category. At Leeds Day our staff are working from home and we are still here to support you over the telephone or by video conference. Please Email Family Team, telephone direct one of our highly experienced family solicitors (Simon Thomas, 01480 442078, Lee Bailham, 01480 442039, or Lisa Leader, 01480 442091) or visit our Family team web page if you need advice or support to protect you and your family.

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