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Domestic Abuse – protecting those islanders at risk | COVID-19

Family Law | Private Client

Prior to lockdown being announced for the island, we discussed social-distancing and self-isolation and how such measures may see an increase in domestic abuse issues for islanders. Such concerns followed the news and statistics of other jurisdictions who were already in lockdown and had seen an increase in domestic abuse call outs. Our general guidance in relation to general guidance on domestic abuse can be found here.

Has there been a rise in domestic abuse in Jersey since the lockdown has been implemented?

Yes, it has been reported that the States of Jersey Police have recorded an increase in domestic abuse-related incidents and calls since the lockdown was put in place for the island. Local charities on the island have also reported an increase in the amount of calls and enquiries they have received regarding domestic abuse.

Why is there a rise in domestic abuse during the lockdown?

It is believed that the risk of domestic abuse will increase due to the lockdown as the home situation of many will be intensified, due to the increased amount of time that the majority of islanders are spending at home. Those islanders, whether it be men or women, who used to be able to leave their homes to go to work or attend hobbies are now being isolated to significant extent with their abusive partner. It is highly likely that those islanders living in a domestically abusive situation are also feeling isolated from those they may have confided in previously, whether it be a friend or a work colleague. As the government advice is that we should not be mixing with people outside of our own households, this may unintentionally leave abuse victims feeling trapped with their abuser.

What should I do if I know someone who may be suffering, or if I am suffering from domestic abuse?

If you know anyone who may be suffering, or you yourself are suffering from domestic abuse, it is recommended that you always keep your phone charged and that you keep it on your person in the event of an emergency.

If the situation intensifies and your friend, or you need assistance, it is recommended that you set up a code word or phrase (in advance) for example you could discuss the weather (e.g. “it’s sunny today”), and then have a further code word which alerts the person on the receiving end that you need the help of the emergency service immediately (e.g. “I need some sun lotion its so hot outside”).

Who should I contact for general enquiries about this?

For non-urgent enquiries, please contact one of the following agencies, however, if help is required in the immediate sense, please contact the States of Jersey Police:

For further information and/or guidance our Family Team may be able to help. Please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on familylaw@parslowsjersey.com

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