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Police referrals for domestic abuse before and during the first COVID-19 lockdown: An analysis of routine data from one specialist service in South Wales

Moore, Graham, Buckley, Kelly, Howarth, Emma, Burn, Anne-Marie, Copeland, Lauren, Evans, Rhiannon and Ware, Lisa 2021. Police referrals for domestic abuse before and during the first COVID-19 lockdown: An analysis of routine data from one specialist service in South Wales. Journal of Public Health 10.1093/pubmed/fdab343

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Abstract

COVID-19 lockdown measures may have led to more, and increasingly severe, domestic abuse. This study examines police referrals to a specialist domestic abuse service in Wales, UK before and during the first lockdown. Methods Routine data relating to 2292 police referrals for female adult victim-survivors from December 2019 until July 2020 were analysed and presented in the form of descriptive statistics to monitor changes in referral rates and the profile of those referrals. Results There was little increase in the overall volume of police referrals during lockdown, but the proportion assessed as high risk increased, and children became the primary source of third-party referrals, with a higher proportion of reports made by other third parties as restrictions eased. Police reports for cases of Child/Adolescent to Parent Violence (C/APV) occurred almost exclusively during lockdown. Conclusions The increase in risk level despite less clear increase in volume may suggest unmet need, with victims less likely to seek help during lockdown other than for more severe instances. Increased reports by children suggest increased exposure of children to domestic abuse during school closure. Unmet need for women and children may have been made visible to services, and acquaintances, as measures began to ease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1741-3842
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 20 August 2021
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 10:25
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/144626

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