LABOUR PARTY has warned home secretary Priti Patel that the government must ‘act quickly’ on domestic abuse during the second national lockdown across England.
Shadow ministers Nick Thomas-Symonds and Jess Phillips have written to Patel urging her not to ‘repeat the mistakes of March, in being too slow to act’.
They also demanded a package of support for organisations working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
During the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK domestic abuse charities saw the number of calls to their helplines increase by up to 50 per cent.
According to experts lockdown may lead to an increase in abusive behaviour and violence because of the pressure-cooker effect of being trapped indoors.
Recently, Thomas-Symonds and Phillips met representatives of more than 15 organisations working to support victims of domestic abuse including Women’s Aid, Action for Children, Refuge, Barnardo’s, Southall Black Sisters, Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Galop, SafeLives and Stay Safe East.
“For too many people, home just isn’t a safe place and as England moves into a lockdown it is vital that services are supported to address domestic abuse,” Thomas-Symonds told the Guardian.
The issues highlighted in the letter including concerns about long-term sustainable funding for the domestic abuse support sector, plans for addressing rising demand during lockdown, concerns that provision of specialised services such as for black, Asian and minority ethnic victims, migrant victims, LGBTQ+ victims, male victims and services for disabled victims.
“For some, this period has led to an escalation of abuse and violence, and the coronavirus crisis has created further barriers for victims to escape abuse or bring perpetrators to justice,” the letter further said.
According to the Counting Dead Women project, at least 16 domestic abuse killings had happened between 23 March and 12 April.