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15 Nov, 2020 13:42

Lockdown killings: Horrifying stats raise fears of fresh spike in domestic abuse deaths

Lockdown killings: Horrifying stats raise fears of fresh spike in domestic abuse deaths

With England little over a week into its second lockdown, shocking new statistics have revealed that calls to domestic abuse helplines are surging, and the first lockdown saw nearly 50 suspected domestic killings.

The charity Refuge has raised the alarm about rising reports of domestic violence, saying it is “very concerned” about a spike in demand for the National Domestic Abuse helpline, which it operates.

Refuge said that perpetrators of domestic violence have proven to be adept at using coronavirus restrictions to abuse and intimidate. It added that abusers were increasingly using smart door locks, webcams, and social media, or sharing revenge porn, to target their victims.

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It comes as fresh data from the Counting Dead Women project identified 35 murders, and another 12 cases strongly suspected to have been linked to domestic abuse in the UK during the first lockdown.

The number of killings was found to be conspicuously steep in the opening period of the first lockdown, before gradually tapering down to levels similar to what was recorded in previous years.

The National Domestic Abuse helpline recorded a sharp rise in calls since restrictions were tightened in England last week. Despite the sudden surge, the numbers have not yet reached the levels witnessed during the first lockdown, when more than 40,000 calls were made in just three three months.

“The experiences faced by women during the first set of lockdown restrictions should serve as a wake-up call as we continue through the next stage of lockdown and Covid-19 response,” Refuge spokesperson Lisa King told the Observer.

“What we know is that demand for our services rose significantly earlier this year – and early signs show that could well be repeated.”

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