Domestic Abuse: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 9th March 2021.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Chair, Human Rights (Joint Committee), Chair, Human Rights (Joint Committee)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has been made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions announced on 4 January 2021 on the rate of reported instances of domestic abuse during that period.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Throughout this pandemic we have worked closely with police forces and domestic abuse support services to understand the impact of national measures on victims of domestic abuse.

In the twelve month period to September 2020, we have seen a 10% increase in overall police recorded domestic abuse incidents compared to the previous year. However, sexual offences and domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police do not provide a reliable measure of trends in these types of crime. We know that improvements in police recording practices and increased reporting by victims have contributed to increases in recent years. The figures do, however, provide a good measure of the crime-related demand on the police.

We also know that, the rises in police recorded data on these crimes don’t always match the increases in demand for help from victim support services. Sadly, victims do not always report domestic abuse to the police. What is critical is that victims are able to reach out for advice or support if they need to do so. That is why this government has invested unprecedented levels of funding in response to the increase in demand for help from victim support services.

Alongside this, our successful #YouAreNotAlone awareness raising campaign has reached almost 25 million UK adults and secured over £130 million followers on social media through paid advertising. Our campaign provides vital information about where victims can access support and we recognise that many concerned friends and family members of potential victims have also been able to access this support.

We also launched our Ask for ANI Codeword scheme this January to ensure that those seeking support could do so safely and discretely from participating Pharmacies.

We continue to further examine available data from police and partner organisations to better understand the impact of the pandemic on domestic abuse incidents and will continue to adapt our response in light of the evidence.

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