Kent Police urge victims of domestic abuse to ask for help as reports in 'lockdown' see slight increase

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Kent Police says there has been a slight increase in the number of reports for domestic incidents during the lockdown period, compared to the same dates in 2019. Between 16 March 2020 and 26 April 2020 there have been 4,024 reports of domestic abuse which is an increase of 34 crimes compared to the same period in 2019. Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police Tony Blaker said he wanted victims to know that despite the social distancing rules and instructions for self-isolation for the public, officers would still attend and investigate incidents.

With people spending more time at home, there is a risk that domestic abuse may be happening with victims and witnesses unable to report it as easily.  Reports can be made in different ways, including by telephone, web chat and through online reporting. Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police Tony Blaker said: “During this Covid-19 pandemic, limited contact with the outside world may make you or someone you know feel unsafe but our specialist teams are here to help 24/7 in the same ways we always have done. “In Kent we have seen a slight increase in reports of abuse during the lockdown and we’re keen that all victims, their family and their friends know that the support Kent Police offers is still available as it was before the public health measures.”

Domestic abuse can take place in many forms from people being frightened by the things their partners say or do, to victims feeling isolated and not in control of their finances, who they see or where they go. Abuse is not just limited to intimate relationships and can take place between ex-partners and family members both young and old. A dedicated Kent Police domestic abuse campaign during the lockdown has been launched online and on social media to raise awareness and encourage people to report incidents of concern.

DCC Blaker added: “These unprecedented times have seen incredible acts of community spirit and I would urge everyone to think a little closer to home and make sure they are a good neighbour. “Those living with domestic abuse can find it hard to reach out for help but if you think your neighbour or a friend may need police assistance do not hesitate to contact us. “Despite the lockdown, it is very much business as usual for Kent Police, particularly when it comes to helping the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Although the rise has been modest in terms of police reports, refuges such as those run in Thanet and Dover by Oasis Domestic Abuse Service experienced a 120% surge in referrals since ‘lockdown’ restrictions were put in place on March 23 up until the middle of last month. Nationally, calls to domestic abuse helplines  increased by 25% but the huge volume of referrals to Oasis mirrors that of the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which also reported a 120% rise in the number of calls it received in just one 24-hour period. Reports of domestic abuse can be made via 999 in an emergency or via Live Chat on the Kent Police website.

Free support not involving the police is also available from:

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Kent Police urge victims of domestic abuse to ask for help as reports in 'lockdown' see slight increase

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