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Northamptonshire Police has seen a 10 per cent increase in reports of domestic abuse since the country went into lockdown on March 23. In the week ending April 19, police responded to 344 reports of domestic abuse compared with 292 for the same week in March.
Many partner services are reporting significant changes to the way people are accessing help and support since the lockdown.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Glenn, the force lead for adult safeguarding, said: “We knew the current restrictions to help prevent the spread of the virus were likely to impact on reports of domestic abuse. We are closely monitoring the situation and taking swift action when responding to incidents to ensure the safety of victims and any children present.
“We are making follow-up calls to victims to check their safety and wellbeing and we are also calling perpetrators on bail with a view to preventing further offences. Tackling domestic abuse remains a force priority and we are working with our partners to ensure victims and witnesses are well supported and are given the appropriate help and guidance. Once again, I urge people to keep an eye out for their neighbours and for anybody affected to get help. There is a wealth of support available.”
In November the force launched its #CutItOut campaign aimed at those working in the hairdressing and beauty industries and the wider public. This began a year’s roadshow of training events for salon professionals across the county which has been temporarily paused because of the current lockdown. During this time it’s never been more important for everybody to recognise the warning signs of domestic abuse as the current restrictions can exacerbate household tensions due to forced coexistence, economic stress and fears about the virus.
Rachel Duncan, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service, said: “We are working really closely with our colleagues in the Police and other partner agencies to find ways we can support victim survivors and their families during this especially difficult time. Whilst reports to the Police have increased, we have seen the direct impact that lockdown with perpetrators can have on victims’ ability to call support services directly – the number of calls we have received has actually decreased but the traffic on our website has increased dramatically. For us this really shows the complexity of the situation victim survivors are finding themselves in and how exceptionally hard it is to secretly reach out for support when you are with the perpetrator 24 hours a day.”
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