Domestic abuse: Southwark Council funds extra support worker to tackle rise in cases during lockdown

Katherine Johnston (10 May, 2020)

'We, alongside our charity partners, know that many women now find themselves essentially imprisoned with the person abusing them, and the issue will not go away once lockdown ends'

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Southwark Council has shared more details of the extra funding and support services it is putting in place to tackle a rise in Coronavirus related domestic abuse.

As the News has reported, domestic abuse has surged across the country during the lockdown due to  victims being trapped with their abusers 24/7 and COVID-19 increasing tensions. 

In Southwark, the number of particularly serious cases have doubled in the last few weeks compared with the same period last year. High risk cases now make up around 71 per cent of its support staff’s workload – compared to a third normally. 

The problem isn’t a new one, with domestic abuse cases increasing year on year. But the lockdown has brought new challenges – and makes it particularly difficult for victims to seek help while being constantly monitored. Many, more than ever, are financially struggling. 

Southwark Council is funding an extra domestic violence advocate for the next six months – costing £25,000 – to work with Solace Women’s Aid to help victims escape their abusers and gain the support they need to protect themselves and their families. 

Councillor Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “It’s imperative that local authorities and the Government recognise and respond to this very serious issue, which has been hugely exacerbated by the public health crisis and lockdown. 

“We, alongside our charity partners, know that many women now find themselves essentially imprisoned with the person abusing them, and the issue will not go away once lockdown ends.

“We hope that this extra support for those experiencing domestic abuse will help people out of what is an extremely difficult time for them.”

If you are worried about someone you think might be experiencing domestic abuse in Southwark, or if you need help yourself, call 020 7539 1290 (available 24/7), or email southwark@solacewomensaid.org

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