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27 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

MPs call for “comprehensive, cross-governmental“ strategy to tackle rise in domestic abuse

By Samuel Horti

A group of MPs have called on ministers to tackle a rising tide of domestic abuse, after new figures suggested 16 women and children had been killed in their home between the start of lockdown on 23 March and 12 April.

The Home Affairs Committee called for a “comprehensive, cross-governmental” strategy on domestic abuse, and said cases of violence should be raised during Cobra meetings on the pandemic. The report comes after domestic abuse charity Refuge said the number of calls to its helpline was 49% higher than normal for mid-April.

“Without strong action to tackle domestic abuse and support victims during the Covid-19 pandemic, society will be dealing with the devastating consequences for a generation,” the committee report said. “The strategy should combine awareness, prevention, victim support, housing and a criminal justice response, backed by dedicated funding and ministerial leadership.”

The report also urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to personally take charge of a “formal cross-government working group” on domestic violence.

The Counting Dead Women project estimates 16 women and children were killed at home between 23 March and 12 April, which is double the average for a 21-day period over the past decade.

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