Police fear rise in domestic violence as more people are quarantined by coronavirus pandemic

Government's plea to stay at home can impact on victims as tensions grow

Friday, 20th March 2020, 1:45 pm

Police are braced for a spike in the number of domestic violence incidents as the Covid-19 pandemic grips Northamptonshire.

Reports in China, where the global outbreak started in December, showed domestic abuse and violence rocketed during lockdowns and quarantine periods.

Tensions grew as people were forced to stay indoors while battling economic stress and fears about the virus' spreading.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Police fear a rise in domestic violence as the coronavirus outbreak grips the UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week advised people against all non-essential travel and said the elderly and most vulnerable people should stay at home.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Glenn, who is the Northamptonshire Police lead for adult safeguarding, said: "The controls the government has put in place to protect people from the virus can unfortunately impact on victims of domestic violence.

"We wholeheartedly support the need to follow measures of social distancing and isolation but we recognise these restrictions may give rise to an increase in domestic abuse — and we are more than ready to respond.

“The most important message I want to convey is that, in the face of the current challenges presented by Covid-19 and fast-moving developments, we are not taking our eye off the ball.

"Tackling domestic abuse is a force priority and that has not changed.

“Our first priority is to protect victims and any children present but we also urge perpetrators to seek help and maybe this period of enforced restriction is a good opportunity to think about the root causes of violent or controlling behaviour.

"There are many ways to get help and support in order to understand and change the way you behave, to give you a better chance of fixing your relationship with your partner and protecting any children in your household.

"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.”