As we are all encouraged to stay at home and stay safe, we are seeing a world-wide increase in domestic abuse victims. For these people, home is definitely not a place of safety.
Shocking figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that domestic abuse killings rose by 160% during the UKs first three-week lockdown period. A total of 16 women died at the hands of their partner.
Police have issued new guidance on social distancing, confirming that those seeking refuge from partners during a heated argument or fleeing violence can go to friends or family as an emergency temporary measure.
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has introduced measures to make it easier for victims of domestic abuse and child abuse to access legal aid during the lockdown:
- No need for evidence to be submitted on headed paper
- Additional evidence types can be submitted by email
- Solicitors are able to confirm that police have issued a caution to the perpetrator or that they are involved in ongoing criminal proceedings relating to the abuse
The LAA says that although it welcomes the changes, there is still more that needs to be done. One such move would be to allow solicitors to be able to certify that an individual is a victim of domestic abuse.
Stacey Powney, family lawyer commented: “It’s important for victims to know that even during these exceptionally difficult times, legal support is still available, and if necessary lawyers can quickly obtain orders to protect them and their children.”
Practical support for victims
Women’s Aid has offered reassurance that all their services are running normally, despite the current situation. Their website has a host of information, including tips on preparing to flee the home with children.
For confidential support and guidance from highly experienced family lawyers call 01302 320621 during office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org
National information and support services:
National Domestic Abuse Helpline (24 hrs) – 0808 2000 247
Galop – advice for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse – 0800 999 5428
Mankind – support for male victims of domestic abuse – 0182 333 4244