Police raise awareness of domestic abuse problem during coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 08:30 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:51 30 March 2020

The national lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak may increase incidents of domestic abuse, but help is at hand. Picture: Pexels

The national lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak may increase incidents of domestic abuse, but help is at hand. Picture: Pexels

Archant

Our government is telling people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic but, for those who experience domestic abuse or violence, home is not a place of safety and Bedfordshire Police is raising awareness of the problem and encouraging people to come forward if they have concerns.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police explained how raised levels of anxiety and stress, or even illness, in a home where relationships are under strain, can be a trigger point. This is usually true during periods of extended time spent with the family, such as school holidays, so the national lockdown will bring the same issues to the surface.

She said social distancing and isolation may encourage coercive and controlling behaviours, as stricter routines and fewer opportunities to get out become apparent - especially for those who view work or school as a refuge from a situation at home.

Detective inspector Lorraine Coombes, of the force’s Emerald unit, which investigates domestic abuse, said: “Staying home, or working from home, will bring many challenges. We all need to be aware how this will impact existing victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, and those who may now find themselves in such a situation due to the exceptional circumstances upon us.

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“In our daily lives, many of us will regularly be in contact with both perpetrators and victims, perhaps without realising. This could be a family member, friend or neighbour, or a work colleague. You are our eyes and ears - please don’t keep your concerns to yourself.

“Chances are if something doesn’t feel right it isn’t, and we will continue to investigate and support throughout this pandemic situation.”

She pointed out that people are still able to leave the house for a walk - if not ill or self-isolating - and fresh air and a physical space can often defuse an escalating situation.

If you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed with what’s happening, and are worried you are taking it out on your partner or family, help is available.

If you have concerns about your own, or another person’s behaviour, or you fear for someone’s safety - or your own safety - call Bedfordshire Police on 101, or call 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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