(CNN)TV presenter Victoria Derbyshire hosted the news on the BBC with the telephone number for the UK’s national domestic abuse helpline written on her hand, as the number of calls to the hotline increased by 25% amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, said on Monday that calls to its helpline had risen by 25% since restrictions on people’s movement began, and that hits on its website had increased by 150%.
The National Domestic Abuse hotline has seen a 25% increase in calls & online requests for help in past week During the lockdown there’s also been a daily rise in people going on the helpline website & last wk that figure was up by 150%The helpline is open 24/7 pic.twitter.com/onHBSfhERV
— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) April 6, 2020 There has been concern in countries across the world that lockdowns put in place to prevent the spread of the virus are leaving victims of domestic violence trapped at home with abusive partners. Derbyshire tweeted a photo of the number written on the back of her hand early on Monday morning as she shared the news and reminded people that the helpline was open 24 hours a day.Women are using code words at pharmacies to escape domestic violence during lockdown“I’d written the number on my hand to tweet a photo of it at 7 a.m. this morning,” she told CNN via email. “I left it on my skin in case it could help any of the millions watching after 9 a.m. on BBC 1.”Read MoreShe said it was “shocking enough” that two UK women were killed every week by a partner or ex-partner even before coronavirus. “Now some will be trapped with a violent perpetrator in self-isolation or partial lockdown and it’s even more vital to get the helpline number out there,” she added.Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said in a news release that the helpline logged on average 270 calls and contacts per day before restrictions on movement were put in place, and that had risen by 25% in the week commencing March 30.She said it was “critical that women have alternative, digital ways of accessing help” while in isolation with an abuser.