Rise in domestic violence in UK amid pandemic crisis calls for legislation enactment by government – Human Rights Watch

woman fear domestic abuse

Human Rights Watch said that with the rise in domestic violence against women in UK

Human Rights Watch said on Monday that with the rise in domestic violence against women and girls in UK during pandemic crisis, it is time for government to step up and enact tough legal guidelines and agenda against this extreme case of human rights violation.

UK government has regularly failed to chalk out a support system for domestic abuse victims since before the COVID-19 crisis. With the lockdown due to pandemic, the episodes of violence have only increased. In absence of any legal system to protect the vulnerable women, many human rights activists and groups have come out to support them.

Since long the UK government has maintained that women protection against violence and abuse is their top priority, but they are yet to sanction any stringent laws regarding the same. The Domestic Abuse Bill in parliament is insufficient to provide protection to women and girls from full spectrum of abuse and violence.

Senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, Hillary Margolis said in this reference, “The pandemic has exposed longstanding flaws in the UK government’s approach to domestic violence. Erosion of support for specialist domestic abuse services was already a national crisis, and this is a critical moment for the government to demonstrate commitment to long-term investment in these services for every woman and girl.”

Human rights activists in the country report that with the pandemic crisis hitting country leading to lockdown, there has been an increase in domestic violence and abuse cases against Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) women. The lockdown has led to failure of support to reach these victims on time.  The inequality against these groups of women leads to further hinderances in access to support and facilities.

Language barrier is a major hurdle that poses these women difficulty to understand any support offered to them.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel started a digital campaign during COVID-19 crisis, #YouAreNotAlone to extend awareness regarding domestic abuse cases in the country, and encouraging the victims to come forward for help. The problem with this campaign, however, is that the language option is only English. This is a barrier for women lacking the language knowledge.

The pandemic induced lockdown is posing difficulties for support group who are struggling to provide aid and support to the victims. Many of the organizations have been forced to close and many are unable to help the victims appropriately due to lack of resources.

Migrant women are more susceptible to abuse as the abusers take advantage of their immigration status.

The UK government is attributing delays in tough legal framework against the domestic violence and women protection. The Domestic Abuse Bill that was reintroduced in March provides a baseline guideline towards domestic violence. However, it still lacks the necessary framework required against the domestic violence and abuse in a broader way.  

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