One of the deeply troubling consequences of this pandemic has been the escalation in domestic abuse. The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 49% increase in calls with 14 women and 2 children being killed in the first 3 weeks of lockdown, the highest rate in 11 years.
Today, as we debate the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, Labour has proposed legislation to deliver £75m for domestic abuse services. The amendment would ring-fence 10% of the recently announced coronavirus charity budget exclusively for domestic abuse charities and put in place a system to fast track this investment to the frontline, before vital services are forced to turn more people away.
We cannot turn our back on some of the most at-risk people in this crisis – we need a plan to support those who are fleeing from abuse.
I know some survivors are unsure of the options available to them if they need help. However, domestic abuse services remain open and lockdown restrictions do not apply to those fleeing abuse. Below are numbers to call if you require help. Northumbria Police are also available online at www.northumbria.police.uk or in an emergency always call 999.