The impact of Covid-19 on domestic abuse

The isolation measures in place during this pandemic have had a profound effect on so many. There has been an overwhelming increase in the number of reports of abuse as victims were in lock down with their abusers. Sadly, this has happened on a global scale.

On average, two women a week die at the hands of their current or former partner but this figure more than doubled at the beginning of lockdown with a count of 16 domestic abuse killings in the first few weeks (Victims Commissioner). The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge,  reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day! (April 2020)

Between April and November 2020 Merseyside Police saw a 10% increase in reports of domestic abuse – equating to 18,782 victims.  In Merseyside, in the year to March 2020 there were more than 25,000 crimes flagged as domestic abuse by officers in that period – the equivalent of 18 in every thousand people being violently or psychologically abused by someone they know.

We need to understand that lock down itself is not the cause of abuse. It is the abuser’s choice to assert power and control that is the cause. Isolation is already a means that perpetrators use to control an individual. When the ‘stay home’ measures were put in place, the isolation intensified.  Home is not a safe place for many victims of abuse and in lock down, abuse escalated with police warning that many individuals were becoming increasingly vulnerable.  West Midlands Police arrested 400 domestic abuse suspects in the space of just two weeks. Whilst this highlights the shocking figures it reassuringly shows that the Police will come if you need them.


If you are in immediate danger and at risk of harm call 999. If you’re frightened of being heard and can’t speak then there is a way for the police to detect this using Silent Solutions – press 55 (mobile phone) and your call will be transferred and you will be asked a series of simple questions which you answer yes/no. If your call is from a landline, stay on the line and you’ll be transferred to a police call handler. You may need to put the phone down, but the line will stay open for 45 seconds in case you pick it up again.

Boots and participating pharmacies are now offering a safe space where you can find out how to access domestic abuse services in complete privacy. Ask for Ani (Action Needed Immediately). 

Passing a ‘help me’ note to a neighbour or the person delivering your shopping if you’re unable to get out to the supermarket will alert people to the danger you’re facing. If you are able to get to a supermarket, pass a note to someone there. Include your name and address and explain that you’re being abused and are at serious risk of harm and and need help.

We want you to know that you are not alone and help is available. Please click on the buttons below for more in depth information.