| 12.8°C Belfast

More than 3,700 domestic abuse calls to PSNI during coronavirus lockdown in NI

Close

There have been over 3,700 domestic abuse calls made to police in Northern Ireland since the coronavirus lockdown began (PA)

There have been over 3,700 domestic abuse calls made to police in Northern Ireland since the coronavirus lockdown began (PA)

There have been over 3,700 domestic abuse calls made to police in Northern Ireland since the coronavirus lockdown began (PA)

Police in Northern Ireland have revealed that they have thus far received at least 3,755 calls related to domestic abuse since the coronavirus lockdown began in Northern Ireland.

It comes after Justice Minister Naomi Long said last month that at least three people have died in domestic killings since the start of the lockdown.

The PSNI released the details on Wednesday after concerns over an increase in domestic abuse incidents since people were confined to their homes.

Over the same period, from March 25 to May 5, in 2019 police received 3,137 calls, an increase of 618 during the lockdown.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

Police stated the weekly number of domestic abuse calls received has been higher than the weekly average since the week beginning April 1.

Close

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the same period last year. Credit: PSNI

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the same period last year. Credit: PSNI

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the same period last year. Credit: PSNI

Figures released by police show the total number of calls relating to domestic abuse from March 4 to May 5, with Northern Ireland's lockdown beginning on March 23.

Green Party MLA Rachel Woods described the increase as "shocking" and said that many more people would be suffering in silence who haven't seeked help.

“Perpetrators often use isolation as a technique to exert control by alienating victims from friends and families," the Stormont justice committee member said.

“Lockdown heightens isolation and so victims of domestic abuse are in a particularly precarious position at this time. It’s clear that we need the PSNI to be proactive in their policing approach and specific domestic violence legislation is needed now more than ever."

Ms Woods paid tribute to organisations like Women’s Aid, the Men’s Advisory Project NI and the Rainbow Project for their ongoing work and encouraged anyone in need of help to contact the 24 hour helpline for victims or domestic and sexual abuse on 0808 8021 414.

A total of 5,473 calls have been received relating to domestic violence since the beginning of March.

During the same period last year police received a total of 4,753 calls, a difference of 720.

The highest number of calls during lockdown were received over Easter week, with 723 domestic abuse calls being made to police, compared with 537 in the same week last year.

617 calls were made over Easter week in 2019.

The average number of calls received by police per week between March 2019 and February 2020 was 570.

Close

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the weekly average between March 2019 and February 2020. Credit: PSNI

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the weekly average between March 2019 and February 2020. Credit: PSNI

A graph comparing domestic abuse calls received by police with the weekly average between March 2019 and February 2020. Credit: PSNI

The information is sourced from the PSNI’s Command and Control System and is based on all calls for service which have either been opened or closed on a code that is used to identify potential domestic abuse.

Last month Mrs Long introduced new legislation that would see domestic abusers facing up to 14 years in prison for the most serious offences.

The legislation will also make coercive control an offence in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The Alliance Party leader said she hoped the legislation would provide some reassurance to those at risk during the lockdown.

“It is important that our response is not temporary or fleeting as domestic abuse is neither,” she told the Assembly.

“Help is available and while you may be socially distancing you are definitely not alone."

Belfast Telegraph


Top Videos



Privacy