Shropshire Star

Domestic abuse reports 'likely to rise in Telford after lockdown'

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown have created an “especially worrying time” for domestic abuse victims across Telford and Wrekin, with a spike in reports expected once “stay at home” guidance is lifted, a report says.

Last updated

Telford & Wrekin Council's public health chief Liz Noakes says domestic abuse crimes and incidents recorded by West Mercia Police actually fell in April and May, compared to the same period in 2019.

Charities are predicting a “potential 30 per cent rise” once households come out of lockdown, she adds.

In a report for the borough’s health and wellbeing board, Ms Noakes says the council has allocated more than £300,000 to help support victims and work with perpetrators, and has successfully bid for around £65,000 from central government towards safe accommodation.

“The pandemic has, clearly, been an especially worrying time for victims of domestic abuse,” she writes.

“Therefore, the council and partners have ensured a particular focus as part of the Covid-19 response at both the council’s internal gold command group and the multi-agency Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Tactical Co-ordinating Group.

More Covid-19 coverage:

“Regular data updates from West Mercia Police indicate there has not, to date, been an increase in the number of domestic abuse crimes and incidents reported compared to the equivalent period in 2019-20.”

Between April 1 and May 18 this year, West Mercia Police recorded 13 per cent fewer crimes involving domestic abuse than in the same period in 2019. Domestic abuse incidents where no crime was recorded fell three per cent.

Ms Noakes adds that the number of referrals to Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service throughout April 2020 was down 42 per cent compared to the previous month.

“Research suggests there is likely to be an increase in domestic abuse reports once the government’s ‘stay at home’ guidance is lifted,” she adds.

“In anticipation, Telford & Wrekin Council has committed additional funding to directly support victims, including for West Mercia Women’s Aid live chat cervice and Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service.”

The council has also taken part in the government’s public information campaign, titled “You are not alone”, and made progress with its own 2019-2021 Domestic Abuse Strategy, including improvement in safe accommodation for victims and support for children.

In 2020-21, the council allocated £40,000 for support services, and £250,000 more will be available over two years to support children affected by domestic violence and fund a “perpetrator scheme” pilot. A grant of around £65,000 was also secured from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Ms Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s Health, Wellbeing and Commissioning Director, will update the Health and Wellbeing Board on the Domestic Abuse Subgroup’s pandemic response, and the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Strategy, when it meets virtually on Wednesday, June 10.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.