Portsmouth professor warns demand for services for domestic abuse victims will increase post-lockdown

The demand for shelters for domestic abuse victims after the lockdown is likely to be on a scale never seen before in the UK, according to a professor from the University of Portsmouth.

Professor Tamsin Bradley has worked with Stop Abuse based in Havant in Hampshire, which supply support and shelter to domestic abuse victims.

She says: "Homes are not safe spaces, and we should never make that assumption. Homes are a place where a great deal of tension plays out, and for a lot of us that's perfectly normal, that's not necessarily abusive. But we have to recognise that in many instances that tension does turn to very extreme abuse and violence."

  • Watch: Professor Tamsin Bradley, University of Portsmouth

How we're going to go about responding to this increase in demand, it's really not on the agenda. And we need to move quickly really to mainstreaming awareness that it is part of the negative knock-on to this kind of situation and think carefully about now putting different measures in place so that we can respond to the demand."

Professor Tamsin Bradley, University of Portsmouth

Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline have increased by 25 percent since restrictions on movement began.

The charity Women's Aid defines domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Professor Bradley says now is a critical time for women in-particular.

She says: "In a lockdown situation where people are feeling highly pressured, when people are worried about money, it's not natural for us to be spending this amount of sustained time together. In places where violence is an ongoing daily occurrence, it's just going to increase and intensify that violence."

Reconstruction Credit: ITV Meridian

On April 11th, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a domestic abuse campaign to provide support for those at risk of domestic abuse.

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.”