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22nd Jun 2021

Disclosures of domestic violence increase by more than 40% over past year

Many domestic violence calls came from Covid-19 restrictions.

The amount of people who have called Women’s Aid has increased by over 40% last year compared to the number in 2019, according to a new report.

Women across the country have been reporting high levels of emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse from their partners, some are even said to be direct results of heightened Covid restrictions.

Last year the domestic violence support service saw 29,717 people contacting them for help and guidance, an increase of 43% compared to 2019.

95% of those calling the service were women, with the remaining 5% being men.

The majority of those getting in contact with Women’s Aid were through the 24-hour helpline, with 1,460 of these contacts going through the Women’s Aid Instant Messaging Service, and 830 were replies to emails.

Last year, the helpline team received calls from over 22,600 calls about abuse against women, with 16,200 of them saying it was emotional abuse.

4,000 disclosed physical abuse, and 1,500 said it was economical abuse and 777 said they endured sexual abuse, including women saying they had been raped, beaten and choked by their partners.

Some 709 said their lives were threatened, 148 suffered abuse while pregnant with 28 saying they had a miscarriage due to the abuse.

340 women confided in the service after saying they had been raped.

With more people staying at home due to Covid-19 restrictions, it’s reflected in the report as 58% of these calls said they were abused by a current male partner, with 23% saying theirs was an ex-male partner.

11% of the women calling said the abuse they endured was by a male, but neither a current partner or an ex.

Only 1% of the women abused was by a female partner, and 1% were by an ex female partner. Some 6% were by a female who was neither an ex or a partner.

The report also showed that 941 women who called the helpline said that they were from a minority background, with 93% of that figure being migrant women, 5% of being members of the Traveller community and 2% being women with a disability.

There was also almost 6,000 calls made about child abuse, the majority being emotional abuse which was up 24% from 2019.

There were 318 reports of physical abuse against children and 50 calls regarding sexual abuse against children.

Along with this, there was a 90% increase in calls done through another language than English, with 69% of the 26 languages spoken being ones from EU countries.

121 were done in Polish, the most spoken language other than English, followed by Portuguese and Arabic.