Calls to domestic abuse help lines soar during coronavirus lockdown. Victim’s commissioner warns of possible ‘epidemic’ of violence in the home.

Dame Vera Baird warned that the government urgently needed a strategy.

Twelve deaths have been reported in the last five days during lockdown

Calls to domestic abuse help lines have soared as victims are trapped with abusive partners during the coronavirus lockdown, it has been reported.

The charity Refuge, which runs a freephone helpline 24/7, has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown. 

It received hundreds more calls last week compared to two weeks earlier, the charity which runs the helpline said.

Campaigners have warned the restrictions could heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes.

The charity said pressure on other services and awareness campaigns could have also led to the increase.

Meanwhile, the victims’ commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, has called on the government to find extra funding for the sector to support victims and announce a strategy as it’s ‘another epidemic alongside Covid-19’.

Spikes in domestic abuse have also been reported in other countries in lockdown, including Spain, France and Germany.

The Catalan regional government alone said calls to its helpline rose 20 per cent during the first few days of confinement.

The picture was similar in Italy, where activists said calls to helplines had dropped sharply, and had been replaced by a surge in desperate text messages and emails.

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