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PSNI dismisses claims of a spike in domestic abuse calls since ‘lockdown’ came into place

'These figures show that domestic abuse calls are remaining at levels consistent with the expected weekly average'

There has been no significant increase in the number of domestic abuse calls received by police since the ‘lockdown’ was introduced.

The PSNI has dismissed some reports that there had been a spike in calls as a result of people spending more time together indoors.

But while that is not the case now it could change, the PSNI has said.

There were 567 domestic abuse calls between March 25 and 31 and 583 between April 1 and 7.

Detective Superintendent Anthony McNally, said this represented an additional 16 calls and was not at this stage being viewed as a “significant increase”.

He said: “During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic there is no doubt that people will be spending more time at home or in a domestic setting, which will at times create potentially stressful situations.”

But he added: “These figures show that domestic abuse calls are remaining at levels consistent with the expected weekly average. However we are in the early phases here, and we are aware from other places that there has been a rise in domestic abuse during periods of restrictions.

“I would continue to appeal for people to remain calm during this time and reassure victims of domestic abuse that we are here for you.  Please speak out so you can help to stop it happening.

“As the Police Service, it is our job to keep people safe. Our role is to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, children and other vulnerable people and to bring offenders to justice.

“Domestic abuse is a crime and until victims are aware there is a safe environment to share their concerns, they will continue to hold on to the secret of domestic abuse.

“Anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse can contact police on the non-emergency 101 number or 999 in an emergency. We also have the Silent Solutions Service which enables a 999 caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, to press 55 when prompted.

“A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is also available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past on 0808 802 1414.”

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