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published: 28 April 2020

Refuges around the UK are facing a huge challenge as they work tirelessly to support a rising number of women experiencing domestic abuse during lockdown.

By the second week of the lockdown that came into force on 23 March, calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline had risen by 25%. By the third week, the call rate was 49% higher than usual.

In the six weeks leading up to 19 April (four of which were in lockdown), Met Police officers across London made 4,093 arrests for domestic abuse offences – nearly 100 a day on average – which is a 9% increase on the same period in 2019.

There has also been a sharp rise of suspected domestic abuse killings, as reported to MPs by Counting Dead Women – a project that records the killing of women by men in the UK. The initiative identified at least 16 killings in the first three weeks of lockdown, including those of children. MPs have heard this figure is the largest in a three-week period for 11 years and more than double the average rate.

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