Sam Billingham: Why has it taken a national pandemic to bring to light a national epidemic?

This pandemic has seen people isolated, unable to see friends and family, it has been the cause of people not being able to go to work, it's prevented people from socialising and the only place people can go is shopping.

The silent solution system
The silent solution system

The country is absolutely in an outrage at being dictated to, being told what they can and can't do and being controlled.

Why the outrage though? When beneath this pandemic there has always been an epidemic with the same controlling behaviour, the only difference being, people turn a blind eye when it doesn't happen to them.

The number of domestic abuse offences recorded by police in England and Wales increased during the pandemic. Police recorded 259,324 domestic abuse offences between March and June - 7% up on the same period in 2019.

During and after the first lockdown in April, May and June, roughly one-fifth of offences involved domestic abuse.

In April, May and June - which covers the period during and immediately after the first national Coronavirus lockdown domestic abuse took up a larger proportion of all offences compared to previous years.

Around 20% of all offences recorded by the police were flagged as domestic abuse related during these months - compared to less than 15% in previous years.

Why has it taken a national pandemic to bring to light a national epidemic?

At this point, I must stress that neither Coronavirus or the lockdown causes domestic abuse. Domestic abuse happens because abusers choose to abuse. No one chooses to be a victim. Domestic abuse is about power and control, not physical violence alone.

We saw the Government launch their #youarenotalone campaign, with people drawing hearts on their hands in solidarity but this simply isn't enough to keep victims of domestic abuse safe.

With every announcement made by our Prime Minister, why did he never once say, household isolation instructions don't apply to you if you are leaving your home because of domestic abuse. Failing this, he could have simply used his podium to advertise specialist service helpline numbers such as Women's Aid and ManKind.

Victims of domestic abuse need to be reassured that the lockdown rules don't apply to them and how specialist services are not on lockdown.

Victims need to know how to stay safe during the lockdown because home isn't a safe place for everyone.

Here are a few safety tips:

If possible victims should keep their mobile phones on them and fully charged. Victims should be encouraged to download two free apps to their phone; Bright Sky which provides support and information for anyone in an abusive relationship. Also the Hollie Guard app which turns your phone into a personal safety device.

For any victim of domestic abuse phoning the police, they should use the Silent Solution System.

Call 999

Listen to the questions

Respond by coughing

When prompted press 55

We need a Government who is prepared to save lives not money.

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