Victoria Derbyshire hosts BBC show with domestic abuse helpline number written on hand

Helpline sees 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests for help in last week

Olivia Petter
Monday 06 April 2020 12:08
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Victoria Derbyshire goes on TV with domestic abuse helpline number written on hand

Victoria Derbyshire has been praised for presenting BBC News with the telephone number for the National Domestic Abuse helpline written on her hand.

On Monday, the charity Refuge said there has been a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests to the helpline, which it runs.

Meanwhile, visits to the organisation’s website have increased by 150 per cent in the same time frame.

Campaigners have previously warned that the lockdown has exacerbated the circumstances for domestic violence survivors who may feel unable to leave their abusive homes.

Derbyshire addressed this subject on BBC One and urged those in need of help to utilise the helpline, which is open 24/7.

Commenting on why she chose to write the helpline on her hand, Derbyshire tells The Independent: “Two women a week were killed by a partner or ex before coronavirus. A fact that is shocking enough.

“Now, some people 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 so people know there is someone right now available to take your call and help you if you are in a violent or threatening situation.

“I’d written the number on my hand to tweet a photo of it at 7am this morning and left it on my skin deliberately in case it could help any of the millions watching after 9am on BBC 1.”

Tommy Corbyn was among those to praise Derbyshire for her efforts.

Huge respect to @vicderbyshire, the number on her hand is for a domestic abuse helpline,” the son of the former Labour leader tweeted.

“Being in lockdown is bad enough, now imagine doing it with someone who terrifies you.”

Derbyshire’s efforts comes after Refuge announced it had teamed up with Chelsea FC to raise awareness for women and children experiencing domestic abuse during the pandemic.

In a statement announcing the partnership, the charity said: “Reports from around the world show that the Covid-19 global pandemic has led to an increase in domestic abuse incidents during periods of isolation and lock down. Experts are warning that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to a ‘domestic abuse pandemic’.”

The statement added that self-isolation could aggravate “pre-existing abusive behaviours” and make it harder for women to seek help.

“The window for women to seek help ordinarily is extremely limited,” it continued.

“The current periods of isolation mean that window is reduced yet more. Refuge wants women to know they are not alone and can still access its support, via its specialist services that run across the country, by telephone and digitally.”

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

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