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One in five crimes during lockdown were domestic abuse related, figures show

Written by on 25/11/2020

Domestic abuse accounted for one in five crimes reported to police in England and Wales during and immediately after the first national lockdown, figures show.

More than a quarter of a million domestic abuse-related offences were recorded between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The 259,324 offences are a 7% rise on the same period last year, and an 18% increase from two years ago.

Domestic abuse offences have been going up in recent years, so it is not clear whether this rise is directly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest rise in offences was between April and May, when the slight easing of lockdown measures may have made it safer for victims to seek help, the ONS said.

Separate data from 40 police forces showed there were 64,283 domestic abuse-related arrests between April and June.

This suggests a rise of almost a quarter (24%) compared with the previous year, when comparing figures from 37 police forces that provided data for the same period over both years.

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The Metropolitan Police also reported a 12% increase in calls between 25 March and 10 June.

Although calls from victims were at similar or lower levels, there was a large rise in reports from third parties.

This is because people who would not usually be at home were around to see and report incidents, and victims who were now in close proximity with their abuser had less opportunity to safely seek help, the ONS said.

Domestic abuse helplines also reported a spike in calls over the lockdown period, while online searches related to domestic abuse increased.

National helpline Refuge took 40,397 calls between April and June – up 65% from the previous three months.

It was contacted around 444 times a day on average at the height of the pandemic.

However, the rise in calls does not necessarily show a rise in the number of victims and could instead represent an increase in severity of abuse and lack of usual coping mechanisms, the ONS said.

 Sky News

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