Review of policing domestic abuse during the pandemic - 2021

Published on: 23 June 2021

The United Kingdom entered the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020. Most of us were instructed to stay at home. This meant many victims of domestic abuse couldn’t distance themselves from their abuser, safely contact the police for help or get support from family and friends. Forces started to work differently, recognising that the absence of a call to the police doesn’t imply absence of abuse and harm. Many forces adopted innovative new practices to check on the safety of victims of domestic abuse, finding new ways to ‘reach in’ to them rather than waiting for victims to ‘reach out’.

This review expands on the findings in our recent policing COVID-19 report, highlighting good practice and innovation. We have also made three recommendations aimed at ensuring forces continue to respond to the challenges of policing domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

It is the fifth in a series of thematic domestic abuse publications since our first report in March 2014, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse. This review looks at how the police responded to the unique challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed on preventing and responding to domestic abuse.

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Police responded proactively to domestic abuse during pandemic