Domestic violence cases rise during lockdown in Wolverhampton

Domestic violence cases have risen in Wolverhampton since the city came out of national lockdown, new figures have revealed.

Domestic violence cases went up during lockdown
Domestic violence cases went up during lockdown

At a meeting of the council’s health scrutiny panel, members were told that when the country first went into lockdown in March, the number of domestic violence incidents reported to West Midlands Police was at an all-time low of 636.

But by August that number had risen to 866.

The council’s head of community safety Lynsey Kelly said: “As lockdown went on and as we came out of it at the end of July, it has steadily increased on January’s figures since before we went into lockdown.”

January saw 765 reported incidents, dropping to 678 in February. From April figures climbed from 689 up to 866 by August.

“It’s not wholly surprising, as the feedback we had from victims was that they were unable to reach out via the telephone or internet safely because everyone was in the household together and they didn’t feel they had that safe space to report,” said Ms Kelly.

“However, now we have come out of lockdown we have seen an increase in reporting and the utilisation of the Haven, which is our main domestic violence provider in the city.

“They’ve had additional calls to their helpline and emails across to their online forums.

“Although the figures are quite high in August, I do just want to add a note of clarity that it is in line with the region and we’re not higher than the rest of the region or nationally. It’s very much in line with what other areas are seeing.

“In terms of what we have been doing during the lockdown period, we’ve done some work with our domestic violence refuge and some of our providers to make sure that they had all the infection prevention measures in place."

The council’s community safety manager Hannah Pawley added: “There are seasonal trends and summer always tends to be quite high but we do tend to see a year on year increase in reports to the police of domestic abuse – which we see as positive as we know it’s under reported so reflects victims’ confidence to speak out and get support.

“In order to support victims we have as a partnership supported regional and national campaigns encouraging victims to seek support and report abuse – including the promotion of the WMP text line where people can report by text.”

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