HMICFRS - Review of policing domestic abuse during the pandemic

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 could not distance themselves from their abuser, safely contact the police for help or get support from family and friends. Police forces started to work differently, recognising that the absence of a call to the police does not 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 set out in the recent Policing in the pandemic report, highlighting good practice and innovation. HMICFRS 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.

This is the fifth in a series of thematic domestic abuse publications since the first HMICFRS report was published 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.

The report can be viewed here.