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Domestic abuse danger now we’re locked down

We are raising concerns for those at risk of domestic violence during the country-wide lockdown announced last night (23 March 2020).

Many charities that support survivors of domestic abuse have begun to prepare for more requests for help as tensions and anxiety rise during the coronavirus crisis.

As a firm which supports many victims of domestic violence, in addition to frequently working with EVA Women’s Aid, Cygnet is warning that families being locked down with their abusers for an extended period could be potentially devastating.

It has also highlighted that there may be need for increased resources and mental health services for victims following a lockdown.

Janet Ford, a senior solicitor here at Cygnet Law, said: “The prospect of a lockdown is scary for all of us, but is absolutely terrifying for someone who knows that they could be imprisoned with their abuser for days on end with no respite. It is very telling that the courts have confirmed they will remain open for emergency applications for injunctions.

“With the heightened stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic, there is an increased likelihood of coercive controlling behaviour and violence towards a partner. Social distancing and isolation are, in fact, two key tactics of a coercive controlling partner, and this could start to become more difficult to identify.

“We are ready to support those who are at risk, as I know our friends at EVA are. These are difficult times, but everyone is pulling together to make sure support is available for those who need it.”

Richinda Taylor, CEO of EVA Women’s Aid, said: “We are preparing for an increase in local women needing our support following the coronavirus crisis. Sadly, some perpetrators will use the stress caused by the pandemic and a potential lockdown as an excuse to commit acts of domestic abuse.

“It is very concerning that this comes at a time when counselling services are suffering extensive funding cuts.

“At EVA Women’s Aid, we are available for those who need support and safe house accommodation during a difficult time, and we have been overwhelmed by the support of our volunteers. They are always invaluable to the service, but now more so than ever.

“EVA Women’s Aid Staff will be available for telephone contact while face-to face visits are restricted. The team can be contacted by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through our website evawomensaid.org.uk”