'Significant increase' in reports of domestic violence in Leeds expected after lockdown lifted

Police and partner agencies in  Leeds are preparing for a "significant increase" in reports of domestic violence when all coronavirus lockdown restrictions come to an end.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Reported incidents of domestic abuse in the city have risen from around 60 per day pre-coronavirus lockdown to around 70 a day after restrictions were imposed on March 23, according to Safer Leeds chief officer Paul Money.

Mr Money said the rise of just over 16 per cent in reported incidents is expected to increase significantly once victims are able to stop living in lockdown with perpetrators.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Money spoke to the YEP as part of our week-long series of articles in support of the 'No Excuse for Abuse' campaign.

Paul Money, chief officer of Safer LeedsPaul Money, chief officer of Safer Leeds
Paul Money, chief officer of Safer Leeds

The campaign , backed by charity Inspire North and Leeds Rhinos Foundation, has been launched to help raise awareness and to educate the public about how to spot and report the signs of domestic abuse.

Mr Money who was chief superintendent for policing in Leeds before he joined Safer Leeds two-years ago, said: "We have seen a definite increase in the volume of domestic violence and abuse cases, both with police and the partner agencies we work with.

"Whilst we have seen that increase in volume, we are prepared for a significant increase in reported incidents of domestic violence and abuse once lockdown arrangements get lifted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In Leeds, we would see somewhere in the region of 60 incidents a day of domestic violence reported to police (before lockdown). We are now seeing probably on average nearer 70 a day reported.

"That's not necessarily a surge, but a definite increase and we know that there is a significant degree of domestic violence abuse that is not reported to us anyway for many reasons.

"What we want to do is reassure people that they can report incidents to the authorities, be that the police, the council or any other service, and we will support people.

"It is a priority for the city to support victims of domestic abuse.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We will work with them and we will support them and we won't do something that the victim is uncomfortable with.

"We will make sure we are helping victims make the right decisions. It is about being victim focused and working with people to reduce risk, not swooping in and doing things that can exacerbate problems for them."

"We also have access to independent domestic violence advocates, who will support victims with whatever they need.

"The police responsibility is to respond to incidents. Safer Leeds is about linking in all the organisations that can provide support to domestic violence victims and their families.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We work with adult and child safeguarding staff at Leeds City Council and we work with schools. We also work with third sector organisations, including chaity Karma Nirvana (which supports victims of honour-based abuse.)"

Mr Money said Safer Leeds also part funds and supports the Leeds Domestic Violence Service.

A report published by the Home Office Affairs Committee last week revealed that calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline, run by Refuge, increased by 49 per cent in the week prior to April 15.

Research by Counting Dead Women calculated that at least 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children had taken place between March 23 and April 12, double that of an average 21-day period in the last decade.

Related topics: