The Metropolitan Police reported 4,093 domestic abuse arrests in London alone in the last six weeks. This equates to almost 100 arrests a day, while domestic abuse calls have risen by a third in the last six weeks.
The police have stated that the charges and cautions were up 24% during a period when people were asked for self-isolate and stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of recorded domestic abuse incidents has risen slowly through the years, with 17,275 recorded between March 9 and April 19, it was a 9% increase on the same period in 2019. The offenses also rose by 2% during the lockdown.
In London, there have been two domestic-related murders recorded as police continue to warn of an increased risk of abuse during the strict lockdown measures issued by the government.
Domestic abuse cases
The Metropolitan Police gave examples of the cases that they've dealt with in the past few weeks. One of them includes a firearm-carrying man who was reported by the victim to the police. Officers found the suspect three hours after receiving the report, they discovered two sawn-off shotguns when they searched his car. They also found a cannabis factory and the man is charged and is awaiting trial.
The police were also called to help a pregnant victim in London. She had gone to a hospital to seek refuge after her partner tormented her and assaulted her. The police quickly arrested the suspect but the pregnant victim was unwilling to support the criminal action.
However, due to the evidence that was captured on the body-cam of the police and the witness accounts from the staff at the hospital, the Crown Prosecution Service supported a prosecution without the victim, and the suspect is now awaiting trial.
Victims of abuse and those who suspect their friends and family members might be suffering at the hands of an abusive partner are being urged by authorities to speak out. The Metropolitan Police says that as part of its ongoing efforts to reach out to the victims, a poster has been produced, which is being put up in supermarkets and retailers.
Help from the authorities
Commander Sue Williams stated that people who are experiencing domestic abuse should never feel that they have to suffer in silence. She said that the COVID-19 restrictions and stay at home instruction are important to manage the pandemic, but it has also left current and potential victims of domestic abuse even more vulnerable and isolated.
Commander Williams added that she wants to stress that the MET is ready to help Londoners and that the pandemic does not mean that the victims can't count on them or that they won't keep being proactive in bringing offenders to justice. Victims should be assured that they can leave their homes to escape harm or seek help and that they will not be penalized in any way for not maintaining social distancing or breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
In early April, the Home Secretary Priti Patel stated that the government was working with numerous charities in order to provide an extra £2 million for domestic abuse helplines and online support during the COVID-19 crisis.
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