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U.K. domestic violence charity says calls have surged 66% as coronavirus lockdown continues

Lockdowns could mean more domestic violence
Lockdowns could mean more domestic violence 03:42

London — The charity that runs Britain's national domestic abuse helpline, Refuge, says demand for its services since under the national coronavirus lockdown has continued to rise, with calls to its helpline jumping 66% since stay-at-home measures were implemented in March and visits to its website up 950%.

"The window for women experiencing domestic abuse to reach out for help is ordinarily very limited — with this window narrowing further when isolating with an abusive partner," Refuge said in a statement. "This spike in demand points to the sheer number of women affected."

Refuge reported an initial spike in calls to its helpline of 25% at the beginning of April, and a rise in visits to its website of 150%. 

"These latest figures show the rise in demand continues to increase as lockdown continues," the charity said in a statement.

Domestic abuse calls rise 02:43

In April, the United Nations Population Fund, the U.N.'s reproductive and sexual health agency, predicted that six months of lockdown measures could lead to 31 million more cases of domestic abuse globally. London's Metropolitan Police reported that calls about domestic abuse had gone up by about a third in the first six weeks of the country's lockdown, and that they had made 4000 domestic abuse related arrests.

"Women up and down the country are isolated with abusive partners — and children will be witnessing and in some cases experiencing domestic abuse. This is a terrifying ordeal and Refuge wants women to know they are not alone," Sandra Horley, CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge said in the statement.

A program called Safe Spaces, which offers resources for victims and survivors of abuse in pharmacies across the U.K., has recently been expanded into large British grocery store chains. Women can ask to go into a pharmacist's consulting room, where they can privately access help. Information on domestic abuse services will also be printed on store receipts. 

If you are a survivor or victim in the U.S. and it is an emergency, dial 911. Other resources include: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or text LOVEIS to 22522. If it is an emergency in the U.K., call the police at 999, or for additional resources in Britain, you can dial the National Domestic Abuse hotline at 0808 2000 247 or visit nationalhelpline.org.uk.

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