Domestic violence and coronavirus – you are not alone banner


Domestic violence and coronavirus – you are not alone

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The London based specialist family law and domestic violence solicitors are here to help you if you are in an abusive relationship and need legal advice during the Covid-19 lockdown. If you are worried about your safety or that of your children then you are not alone.

Domestic violence and injunction solicitors

In a recent Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing, Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed a real surge in domestic violence during the Covid-19 crisis and government imposed lockdown. Domestic violence solicitors say that it isn’t surprising as requiring people to ‘’stay at home, protect the National Health Service, and save lives’’ creates very difficult conditions for those in abusive relationships. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has previously spoken of the collateral damage of requiring people to stay at home; both economic and personal. Now the government is recognising this by launching a ‘’you are not alone’’ campaign to support those in abusive relationships.

If you need family law advice or an injunction order call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. We can secure urgent court injunctions and offer initial discussions by video conference, Skype, FaceTime or telephone appointment.

Coronavirus and domestic violence statistics

If you think that you are on your own with an abusive partner then whilst you may be physically stuck in a house or apartment with your husband, wife, civil partner or partner, you certainly aren’t alone in what you are experiencing and there is help available.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has acknowledged that domestic violence charities and organisations have reported a massive increase in calls asking for help during the Covid-19 lockdown.

To put the increased requests for domestic violence help in context, the domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has said that it received a seven hundred percent increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. In addition, calls to a domestic violence perpetrator helpline are up by twenty five percent since the government imposed coronavirus lockdown.

Family law and domestic violence solicitors really aren’t surprised by the volume of calls for help. They attribute the increase to:

  • Enforced confinement – people often aren’t used to spending 23 or 24 hours a day with their partner and children
  • Financial worries – millions of people are concerned about being furloughed or made redundant and how they will pay their mortgage , rent or other bills
  • Isolation – although people may be in lockdown with their partner (and children) there is no longer the option of meeting friends or family to offload  problems or to simply escape by going off to watch a football match
  • Health concerns – many people are becoming increasingly aware of just how serious Covid-19 can be and how long the lockdown could last for. That, in turn, can create mental health issues and feelings of depression
  • Feeling in control – when the world appears to have ‘’gone mad’’ and people no longer in control of their lives or movements it can be tempting to try and reassert control by being abusive to a partner or children, assuming that a partner will have no option other than to put up with the behaviour because of the lockdown and staying at home rules.

On top of these reasons, the unusual spell of hot weather is making us all feel more like getting out and the press reports of police officers trying to prevent people from shopping for non-essentials or from sitting in their local park have all contributed to the build-up of tensions and increase in calls for domestic violence help.

The government campaign – you are not alone

The Home Office has launched a campaign to help victims of domestic violence and abuse using the Twitter hashtag #YouAreNotAlone.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel spoke about the intentions behind the ‘’you are not alone campaign’’ saying:

Coronavirus has opened Britain’s enormous heart and shown our love and compassion for one another as we come together to help those most in need. I am now asking this nation to use that amazing compassion and community spirit to embrace those trapped in the horrific cycle of abuse.”

It is reported that the Home Office intends to:

  • Publish adverts to raise awareness of domestic violence and where help is available
  • Provide an extra £2 million in funding for domestic abuse helplines and online support.

In addition domestic violence charities and organisations are calling for a joined up approach so that those caught up in domestic violence and abusive relationships have the option of leaving the family home and going to stay in hotels opened up during the lockdown to support victims of domestic violence. Many hotel chains are keen to help during Covid-19 as they are closed to members of the public but are willing to open their doors to provide accommodation for key workers, those patients who are able to leave hospital but don’t have suitable home accommodation, or victims of domestic violence who don’t have alternative accommodation or who can't get an ouster injunction order.

What legal help is there for domestic violence victims during Covid-19?

Family law and domestic violence solicitors know it is all very well to say that ‘’you are not alone’’ but to many victims of domestic violence stuck in their homes on lockdown it certainly feels like it. There is an assumption that family lawyers and the court are closed, in the same way as ‘’get out options’’ such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and caravan sites are shut down. Fleeing to friends and family is also not thought to be an option because of the lockdown and stay at home rules.

There is legal help available from:

  • Family law and domestic violence solicitors – even though many London offices may be closed, family lawyers are working and can talk to you , offer legal advice, and even secure court orders through taking your instructions via phone, Skype or FaceTime. If you can't make a call whilst at home the police have said that if you leave your house to get domestic violence help you won't be breaking lockdown rules
  • Family courts- the family court is not closed. Some family court hearings are taking place although the majority of hearings are being conducted over the phone or by video conference. The court is prioritising certain types of family law cases. Domestic violence injunction orders and urgent child arrangements order applications are the sorts of family law cases that are being prioritised by the court service and given urgent telephone court hearings
  • The police – statistically crime rates are down during the Covid-19 lockdown but that is just the overall picture. Calls for help with domestic violence have massively increased and the police have been told to prioritise these calls to safeguard families.

What court orders are available?

It is all very well to be told that you can call and speak to a family and domestic violence solicitor but you may well want to know what they can do for you. If your situation is urgent then they can apply to court and get a family court order to protect you and your family. Available court orders include:

You therefore do have legal options. Potentially a court application could quickly be made, over the phone, to a family law judge, to ensure that you and your children have the protection and help you need. Family law and domestic violence solicitors are keen to promote the message #YouAreNotAlone – help is available a phone call away.

Online Covid-19 family law services

The specialist family lawyers at OTS Solicitors are working hard during the Covid-19 lockdown to secure phone court orders to protect children and prevent domestic violence in abusive relationships. If you need help with a domestic violence court application, child care arrangements or on any other aspect of family law call the friendly team of expert family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. We will set up a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment for you with an experienced family law solicitor.

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