Sarah Evans, Partner in Coodes Solicitors’ Family team, urges anyone suffering domestic abuse to seek help and says it is still possible to escape during the coronavirus pandemic.
Blog updated December 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has created challenges for us all, but it is an especially difficult time for anyone who is now forced to self-isolate with an abuser.
In March 2021, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline reported a 61 percent increase in calls since restrictions were put in place to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
People suffering abuse may feel more trapped than ever and unable to see a way to escape. However, support is out there and the Government has made some changes to make it easier to access Legal Aid. Despite the social distancing measures that are in place, it is possible to escape domestic abuse and refuges remain open.
Accessing legal advice to escape domestic abuse
Here at Coodes Solicitors, our Family team advises people through the process of ending an abusive relationship. We continue to support our clients, securing non-molestation and occupation orders and putting in place orders to protect children, including child arrangements orders and prohibited steps orders. In urgent circumstances, we can obtain these orders very quickly.
If you are suffering domestic abuse and cannot afford legal fees, you may be able to get Legal Aid to cover the cost of our services. Recent changes, including allowing evidence to be submitted by email, have made it easier to access Legal Aid during the pandemic. We can advise on whether or not you are eligible for Legal Aid and can also explain what evidence you will need to provide to support your case.
Getting support during the pandemic
A number of dedicated services and charities offer support and advice to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse. We work with many of these organisations and often recommend them to our clients. The following local agencies are continuing to offer support during the pandemic:
Leaving an abusive relationship
Anyone who needs to flee an abusive relationship is faced with the challenge of finding somewhere safe to go. The changing social distancing measures during the pandemic have made this even more daunting.
During times when the Government urged us to stay at home, it has made it clear that anyone experiencing domestic abuse is allowed to leave to get help. Refuges have remained open and the Domestic Abuse Helpline and local support services have helped poeple find somewhere safe to go. According to news reports, the Government has also looked into alternative accommodation for those people who need to escape abuse.
These are clearly extremely difficult times for people who are forced to remain at home with an abuser. The increase in cases being reported is very worrying indeed. The message that I would like anyone in this position to hear is that support is still out there and you can escape.
If you are affected by any of these issues and need legal advice, please contact the Family team: Family@coodes.co.uk