London’s Metropolitan police service received an increased number of calls-for-service for domestic incidents following lockdown, largely driven by third-party calls and there has generally been an increase in demand for domestic abuse victim services during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly affecting helplines as lockdown measures eased.
The ONS says this does not necessarily indicate an increase in the number of victims, but perhaps an increase in the severity of abuse being experienced, and a lack of available coping mechanisms such as the ability to leave the home to escape the abuse or attend counselling.
As a firm, we are very proud to provide regular support on a weekly basis to our local domestic abuse charity DAVSS (Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service) as a way of making a positive difference on behalf of our local community.
DAVSS is an award-winning community-based charity supporting any victims of domestic abuse, aged 16 years and above, in West Kent. Using a unique and highly effective professional volunteering model it provides vital support to clients who have experienced domestic abuse.
DAVSS volunteers listen without judging, answer calls to the charity’s helpline, provide telephone support or meet clients face to face (when Covid restrictions permit), prepare individual bespoke safety plans, support clients to court if needed and help them begin to rebuild their lives.
Family Partner, Gemma Gillespie and Associate Solicitor, Melissa Gire, are currently committing approximately two half hour meetings a week for DAVSS; offering advice to people who have contacted the organisation.
“In those first few weeks of lockdown, I heard some really distressing stories and, to be honest, that hasn’t changed a great deal,” says Gemma. “I think we’ll be feeling the impact of Covid-19 on the incidence of domestic abuse for some time yet. However, working alongside the team behind DAVSS, we have been able to offer clients advice regarding their legal position and it feels really important to support people at a time when they need it most.”
Find out more about DAVSS: www.davss.org.uk