Panorama Investigation Into Domestic Abuse During Lockdown

This week’s episode of Panorama 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.

Victoria Derbyshire

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 station 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’.”

Domestic abuse lockdownHow can we help?

Melanie Bridgen is a Partner in our Family Law team, specialising in domestic and sexual abuse and children law matters.

At Nelsons, we have a team of specialist solicitors in Derby, Nottingham, and Leicester who are experienced in protecting victims of abuse and will respond quickly to your enquiry.

If you need advice on any abuse-related matter or have any other family law-related queries, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that our family law solicitors can provide along with details of our hourly rates and fixed fee services.

Our team understands how distressing abuse is and handles all cases with sensitivity and professionalism. Please contact the team on 0800 024 1976 or contact us via our online form.

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