The UK government is under pressure to tackle the increase in reports of domestic violence during lockdown, with police in London seeing a 10 percent rise in the number of calls reporting attacks.
And the surge has put extra pressure on Jewish Women’s Aid, which estimates that one in four women are affected by domestic abuse. In April, the charity reported a 27 per cent rise in demand for services compared with the past three years. “We have seen more women asking us for help and more children being traumatised through witnessing abuse,” a spokeswoman explained.
Reflecting the national increase in calls to helplines, she said: “There seems to be a higher awareness of the issue of domestic abuse as a result of media coverage of the rise in violent incidents and deaths under lockdown.”
While pressure on the charity has increased, it has been less able to fundraise and had to cancel its annual June dinner. “We launched an emergency fundraising campaign in May – and we also applied to a range of funders to help ensure that we are able to keep meeting the needs of women and their families.”
But still, JWA’s frontline services have run “without interruption” under lockdown, with those that were face-to-face now conducted online or on the phone. “We have continued to offer advocacy, counselling and children’s therapy and moved women into emergency accommodation.”
The spokeswoman added: “We are expecting a spike in demand for our services, following the easing of lockdown, when women have more freedom to contact us for support. It’s hard to predict exactly what this will look like but our priority will be making sure we have the resources to respond to every woman who needs us.”