A Record 80% surge in calls to National Domestic Abuse Helpline spells danger for children – Helen Clark Writes

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has received an 80% surge in calls for help in June amidst warnings of a looming autumn surge (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/23/domestic-violence-helpline-calls-80-june-amid-warnings-surge/).

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs today demanded the Government to avert a further catastrophe by announcing an emergency National Safety Plan.

The domestic abuse charity ‘Refuge’ has reported ‘huge spikes’ in calls for help since the start of lockdown with an increase since restrictions have eased. Statistics support the worst fears of those who pointed to the fact that victims and witnesses of abuse would have their safety jeopardised by being forced to live in virtual imprisonment with perpetrators.

Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline came from neighbours and friends as well as the abuse subjects and showed:

  • A 53% rise in women needing emergency accommodation in the first week in June compared with last year
  • 73% of the June calls were from domestic abuse survivors
  • 40% of the callers were given information on issues such as child contact and housing rights
  • 17% of callers were supported to make safety plans
  • 15% were seeking emergency accommodation because they needed to leave their homes urgently.

Helen Clark, Lead Author for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood said:

‘The Government must announce an immediate plan to help women and children in these desperate circumstances.

Children may be witnesses to domestic abuse or victims of it. They are likely to be too frightened to call for help. They may even be marooned beside the perpetrator while an adult victim flees to safety.

The horrific and enduring effect on their mental health defies description and yet the Prime Minister yesterday let yet another Prime Minister’s Questions go by without a reference to the forthcoming epidemic in children’s mental health.

When will he ‘GET MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION DONE’ with the needs of children the top priority?

THE VOTERS NEED TO KNOW!’

Helen Clark, Lead Author for the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood

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