Domestic abuse victims can leave home despite COVID-19 outbreak
Lockdown due to Coronavirus seems to be pointing towards the distinct possibility of an unfortunate rise in domestic abuse.
During this national period of social distancing and self-isolation many relationships up and down the country are going to be tested to their limit. Even the couples who appear solid to the outside world are likely to have arguments at home over the coming weeks as they are forced to spend more time together. Human beings need personal space from time to time and that is going to be difficult to achieve in the current climate.
Unfortunately for some this period of staying home to save lives may be contradictory if the home is not the safe haven it should be. For those people who are in an abusive relationship, the thought of being forced to stay at home with their abuser for what may seem like months is a dark thought indeed.
Whilst the Government want us all to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the home secretary Priti Patel has made it clear that people should not have to suffer abuse and can leave home to seek refuge.
“Whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused – whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise,”
There are many charities, such as Lighthouse and Refuge, which are still open and working round the clock to help and support victims of domestic abuse. The family courts are still open to process urgent cases and help victims obtain any necessary orders to help protect themselves and although our family solicitors are working remotely, we remain available and ready to help support and advise anyone who is experiencing a relationship breakdown or is a victim of abuse. Please contact us in confidence and do not remain silent. #Savelives applies to us all whatever our circumstances.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.