Government launch new domestic abuse campaign amid coronavirus lockdown

A new domestic abuse campaign has been launched by the UK government, Priti Patel announced on Saturday.

Due to the number of people being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak, it is feared there will be an increase in domestic abuse.

The Home Secretary said that people who are suffering from domestic abuse during the lockdown will still be able to get support from the police.

Ms Patel said: “For the victims of these crimes, home is not the safe haven that it should be and that is why I have been working with law enforcement, charities, schools, businesses and local councils to address this changing threat picture.

“I want to emphasise that anybody who is a victim of these crimes can still get help. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999 and press 55 on a mobile if you are unable to talk.

“Our outstanding police will still be there for you.”

Ms Patel announced the campaign to provide support for those at risk of domestic abuse.

She said: “I’m launching a new national communications campaign to reach out to those who are at risk from abuse, highlighting that they can still leave home to get the support that you need.”

She said the service will signpost victims and is aimed at providing reassurance, and said it would be symbolised by a hand print logo embossed with a heart.

“I ask you and I urge everyone to share this on social media or in the windows of your own homes, just to demonstrate how much we care and how much our country cares.”

Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt.

Ms Patel said that the virus was changing the nature of the threat the UK faces from crime.

She said that while total crime had dropped as people follow the advice to stay at home, criminals were adapting to exploit the virus.

The Home Secretary added: “Fraudsters are exploiting coronavirus as a hook for new acquisitive crimes with losses to victims already exceeding £1.8 million.

“The perpetrators of sickening online child abuse are seeking to exploit the fact that more and more young people and children are at home and online.

“And in the last week the National Domestic Abuse Helpline reported a 120% increase in the number of calls it received in one 24-hour period.”

Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt said there has been a 21% drop in overall crime in the past four weeks compared to the same period last year.

Police from 37 forces in England and Wales have issued 1,084 fines for breaches of coronavirus regulations as of Thursday, Mr Hewitt said.

He said there had been a “small minority of people” who have failed to follow the government’s guidance.

The fines were issued from across 37 different forces, Mr Hewitt said.

“Across all of those forces, that is an average of less than 84 a day,” he added.

“This shows that the overwhelming majority of people are abiding by the rules and are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

“In those few cases where police forces have made mistakes with those new regulations, they have quickly sought to correct them and provide clarity.”

He said police will publish enforcement data every fortnight during the crisis.

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