Lawyer backs call for increased funding for families affected by domestic abuse in lockdown
Lawyers who specialise in claims on behalf of survivors of abuse have welcomed a call for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be strengthened with an urgent injection of cash to help families affected by violence in the pandemic lockdown.
Posted on 29 April 2020
The BBC has reported that the Labour party wants to see £75 million of Coronavirus charity funding ring fenced for domestic abuse services as part of legislation being debated this week.
Politicians made the call to dedicate 10 per cent of the Chancellor’s £750 million package of support for charities affected by a plunge in funding amid the current pandemic to services directly helping victims of domestic abuse.
They proposed the move as an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill debated in the Commons on Tuesday, 28 April, 2020. This was in response to the Government’s announcement that it would spend £3.1 million on services supporting children affected by “appalling abuse” at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
The BBC reported that the Government cash would be allocated to councils, charities and police and crime commissioners across England and Wales.
The Labour party said the money falls “woefully short” of what is needed to support frontline services helping families affected by domestic abuse.
Reports of domestic abuse have spiked during the five-week UK Covid-19 lockdown and it has been reported that Metropolitan police have arrested 100 people a day for domestic abuse related offences and have received 30 per cent rise in domestic abuse calls.
A plan for amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill to provide emergency funding for domestic abuse charities had been laid out by Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds.
During the debate on Tuesday, 28 April MP Yvette Cooper said the Domestic Abuse Bill isn’t enough and an urgent action plan needs to be drawn up because calls relating to domestic abuse were at the highest level for over a decade, calls to police were up seven fold and victims were feeling more trapped than ever as perpetrators were exploiting the coronavirus crisis.
She added: “If we believe in a statutory duty of support, let’s start delivering it now. The Government should ring fence charity funds now. It should talk to national hotel and hostel chains to get a national guarantee of safe housing for victims of domestic abuse."
Leigh Day solicitor Andrew Lord, who specialises in abuse claims, said:
“Domestic violence is first and foremost a horrendous crime, and from my professional experience I know that the potentially devastating impact on children who are either a victim or witness to domestic abuse by loved ones cannot be overstated.
"The rising number of reports due to the Covid-19 lockdown is concerning. Now more than ever, in circumstances where we must stay home, more resources, support and action must be dedicated to helping support victims and families affected by domestic violence and to tackling this growing crime.”