Calls to domestic abuse helpline double during lockdown

Women's Aid charity says there has been an influx of enquiries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Calls to a national domestic abuse helpline have doubled during lockdown, with experts saying restrictions on movement have created opportunities for perpetrators to exert greater control.

Women’s Aid says there’s been an influx of inquiries to Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline during the pandemic; a third of those specifically mention the impact that coronavirus is having on their lives.

The charity is urging anyone affected to seek help.

Melanie Wood, from Moray Women’s Aid, said: “We have had calls from women hanging out (the) washing, having to make a discreet call to us, women calling from their garage. 

“Some men have been saying ‘I will do the shopping, you and the kids need to stay safe, I will take the bank card’, then the card does not get given back.”

“People haven’t been able to get out to see friends or family or speak to people who might say: ‘That’s not right, you need to do something’.

“It has been a very isolating time for some people.”

Jean experienced domestic abuse for more than twenty years. She says living under the control of her husband affected every aspect of her life.

“I had to report what I was doing, what I was spending, where I was going, everything.   

“I felt the lowest of the low.”

Police Scotland says officers are always on hand to help, and are urging anyone affected to contact them, wherever they may live.

Detective Superintendent Debbie Forrester, who is the lead for Domestic Abuse for Police Scotland, said: “If you feel afraid or you are at risk of abuse or you know someone who is, Covid is not an obstacle, please come forward and we will respond appropriately.”

The number for Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline is 0800 027 1234.

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