In this week’s episode of Panorama, it explored the harrowing stories of women who have endured domestic abuse from their partners during lockdown and how they escaped from the violence they were being subjected to.
The special, presented by Victoria Derbyshire, visited women’s refuge centres in Wales, London and Bognor Regis, interviewing victims of abuse who shared their experiences during lockdown anonymously.
One victim interviewed during the programme commented that she had been in a violent relationship for many years but the imposed lockdown restrictions made life even worse for her. When the lockdown measures were first announced, she said that her partner turned to her and commented: “let the games begin”.
Adding: “And he said: “If you think it was bad before with the rape, you’re in for a rough ride.””
She went on to say that she had been “raped over 100 times” by her partner in lockdown before she was able to escape.
The joint investigation by Panorama and Women’s Aid found the following:
- Two thirds of domestic abuse victims were subjected to more violence from their partners during lockdown.
- Three quarters of women commented that lockdown made it much more difficult to escape their abusive partners.
- The Police received one domestic violence call every 30 seconds in the initial seven weeks of lockdown – which included reports from both men and women of kidnap, arson, revenge porn and poisoning.
Additionally, it has been reported that calls to the Respect Men’s Advice Line for male victims of abuse increased by 65% during the first three months of lockdown.
During the episode, Victoria Derbyshire also spoke about her and her mother’s experiences of domestic violence at the hands of her father. In the opening minutes of the episode, she commented:
“If he was in the house we were on eggshells all the time. I remember once he locked my mum in their bedroom and he was hitting her and there was loads of noise and I was scared.
“So I ran from here down to the police station which is maybe a mile. I was 12 or 13. I was so scared I just ran to the police stations and said ‘my dad’s hitting my mum, please can you come.’
“So when Boris Johnson told us all to stay at home one of my first thought was, ‘so what if you’re living in the house with a violent partner – because you would literally be trapped’.”
Suffering domestic abuse during lockdown – get advice
At Nelsons, our team understand how distressing abuse is and handle all cases with sensitivity and professionalism with the aim of protecting a victim from further abuse.