Nearly 47,000 people in Nottinghamshire suffered domestic abuse during the Covid -19 pandemic with women making up over two thirds of the victims, a CBJ News investigation has found.
Nottinghamshire Police recorded the highest number of arrests for domestic violence incidents across the East Midlands during the last year. Leading the Police to launch ‘The Silent Solution’ for callers to dial 999, with trained operators asking callers, who were too frightened to speak to press 55, to trigger an emergency Police vehicle to their home.
The #SilentSolution system means 999 callers can still get police help even if they aren’t able to speak. When prompted, callers can press 55 to let the operator know it’s a genuine emergency.#MakeYourselfHeard @policeconduct @womensaid @policechiefs pic.twitter.com/WLHrxVjtfL
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) September 10, 2019
The pandemic has fuelled an increase in domestic abuse globally leading the United Nations to call it ‘The Shadow Pandemic’. In the UK during the first three weeks of the Covid lockdown 16 women were murdered following domestic abuse. In Nottinghamshire over the last 5 years, 13 women have died in domesticate homicides and nationally on average a woman is killed by a man every 3 days.
61% of women who contacted Women’s Aid said their abuse was worse during the pandemic. A survivor of domestic abuse who wishes to remain anonyomous spoke of the fears of living in an abusive household.
Covid-19 lockdowns have provided abusers with more chances to terrorise their victims, and less options to get help from family, friends or from specialist support services. Women’s Aid saw a 132% increase in visits to its website, and 61% of the women said the level of the abuse they suffered had gotten significantly worse as they were trapped at home with their abusers. Juno Women’s Aid in Nottingham https://junowomensaid.org.uk/ , also reported that survivors required more support.
🆘If you need to leave the house due to domestic or sexual abuse, this is a TOTALLY legitimate reason during #lockdown.
— 🌈My Nottingham (@MyNottingham) January 31, 2021
In three months in 2020 in the City alone, 17 homes had to have extra security to protect those living at the address from their abuser compared to 11 homes in total for 2019.
This increase in victims has meant that hard pressed charities have had to bid for more money to keep going during the pandemic. Our investigation found that Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner had to pump in over half a million pounds worth of extra money for additional domestic abuse and rape support services to try to keep up with demand. A Freedom of Information request to Nottinghamshire County Council found that between April 2020 and March 2021, the County Council also had to make an extra £403,430 available. There was no response to a similar request from Nottingham City Council.
If you’ve been affected by issues raised in this story, sources of support are below: