'Screaming, arguing, belittling': Warnings tough local restrictions 'catastrophic' for people in abusive relationships

  • Watch Sam Casey's report

There are warnings that the tough local Covid-19 restrictions in force across West Yorkshire and elsewhere could be "catastrophic" for people in abusive relationships. 

Domestic violence charities say they saw a sharp rise in demand for support following the national lockdown, and are worried about the safety of victims who may be trapped with their abusers again over winter.

Sam Casey has been speaking to one man who described the 'nightmare' of lockdown with an abusive partner.

Darren - not his real name - says he was in an abusive relationship for several years. As well as verbal attacks and controlling behaviour he says there was physical violence too.

He explained: "I was constantly hiding scratches on my neck on my face. Screaming, arguing, belittling. I remember thinking it's not right, but I love her."

Before the pandemic, Darren was on a course of high strength medication. But being trapped with his abuser during lockdown almost proved too much.

He said: "During lockdown I researched how much was the maximum dose to take. I ended up walking out, took the tablets with me, I took 4 times the safe amount. I just collapsed and lost consciousness."

Credit: ITV Calendar

Darren survived and is now being supported by a domestic violence service after escaping the relationship.

Figures from West Yorkshire Police show they dealt with more than 37,000 domestic abuse calls in the six month period from the start of lockdown - a slight rise on the previous six months. There were 880 arrests over the same period, an increase of almost 12%.

For more support around this issue, head to the government's advice page.