We are asking all people in the UK to be vigilant following reports of incidents of domestic abuse increasing in China after the lockdown imposed as part of the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
McAlister Family Law has two specialist teams, covering public law and children law, and our solicitors are experts in cases of domestic abuse.
There has already been commentary - for example from Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia - that the (now government-imposed) confinement is likely to result in a rise in the divorce rate - we are also concerned for those who might be victims of domestic violence.
Amanda McAlister, our managing partner, said: “Self-isolation can be a dangerous time for women, and men, trapped inside with their abuser whose behaviour may be aggravated by the chaos and uncertainty around coronavirus.
“Every year after Christmas, we see a noticeable rise in enquiries about filing for divorce, usually brought about by the stresses of the holidays, couples forced to spend extended time together and more. Potentially, the current situation in the UK may have a worse outcome: the majority of children are now having to stay at home, parents have little or no childcare, there may be money issues, and the lockdown will inevitably lead to household tension among isolated families. Add into the mix more alcohol consumption in the home, and you have a very worrying situation.
“Unfortunately, for friends, neighbours and family, domestic abuse is not always easy to spot as it is often a hidden crime, and abusers frequently threaten victims to stop them from speaking out about domestic abuse.”
The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is still operating 24 hours a day, and confidential support is available if needed. If it isn’t safe to call, you can access the Helpline’s web form to request a safe time to be called back by a member. Anyone in danger can call 999 and ask for the police. If it is not safe to speak, victims should make themselves heard by coughing, tapping the handset or once prompted by the automated system, by pressing 55. People put through to the Silent Solution system by the 999 operator will hear an automated message for 20 seconds which will ask the caller to press 55.
A police handler will then take over and attempt to communicate using simple yes or no answers. However, this course of action only works on mobile phones - if a silent call is made from a landline then the operator can choose to connect a police call handler if they think necessary.
Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
We would also ask anyone affected by any of the above issues and who is in need of legal advice to get in touch with us today 0161 507 7145. We are here to help.