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UK: 72% of UK think more should be done to protect all domestic abuse victims

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Amnesty poll reveals strong UK public support for the Government to do more to tackle domestic abuse emergency during pandemic

Majority support more being done to protect vulnerable victims - regardless of immigration status - and Government funding hotel rooms for victims

Findings come ahead of debate on Domestic Abuse Bill

The Government must act urgently to ensure more is done to protect all victims of domestic abuse without discrimination, Amnesty International said, as it released the findings of a new opinion poll today (Tuesday 28 April).

COVID-19 is exacerbating a domestic abuse crisis in the country. Lockdown has seen a huge surge in calls to domestic abuse services and a reported increase in domestic abuse killings.

New findings from a survey of 2,000 UK adults show that the public wants the Government to act to protect all survivors of domestic abuse and to provide more funding to the services that support them.

Amnesty International’s poll - conducted by Opinium between 24- 27 April – revealed that:

  • 72% agreed the Government should do more to ensure all victims of domestic abuse are protected;
  • 65% agreed that the Government should provide more funding to protect and support all victims of domestic abuse during the crisis.

The survey also revealed the public’s support for the most vulnerable victims receiving greater protection, including those without a secure immigration status:

  • 67% agreed that the Government should do more to protect the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse, regardless of their immigration status;
  • 57% agree that the Government should provide more funding to support specialist services providing support for the most vulnerable, such as those without secure immigration status;
  • 77% believe that the Government should treat all victims of domestic abuse equally.

There is also a strong feeling that the Government should help provide emergency accommodation for domestic abuse victims needing a safe place to stay during lockdown. Hotel chains in the UK recently offered rooms for domestic abuse victims, but the Government is yet to agree to the offer and provide the funding needed to make this happen. Amnesty’s poll found that 70% of the public support the Government funding stays for domestic abuse victims in hotel rooms.

The findings come ahead of a debate in parliament today as the Domestic Abuse Bill receives its second reading. Amnesty is urging the Government to deliver emergency measures to protect all domestic abuse victims during the coronavirus pandemic, and to introduce legislation that creates a fairer system by ensuring all women can access safety regardless of their immigration status.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“The fact that the UK public want the Government to provide more support to domestic abuse victims isn’t surprising. We’ve recently seen shocking reports on the number of domestic abuse related deaths and a huge surge in calls to helplines.

“People clearly want this domestic abuse emergency properly addressed, and there’s no time to lose in tackling it - it’s a matter of life and death.

“Any measures introduced must treat all victims equally – no matter where they’re from. The current system is almost entirely out of reach for migrant women and leaves them without refuge beds or a safe place to stay.

“The Domestic Abuse Bill is an opportunity for MPs to build a fairer system that ensures all women can escape abuse to safety and leaves no victim behind.”

Yesterday, the Home Affairs Select Committee issued a report urging the Government to take urgent action to tackle domestic abuse during lockdown or risk ‘devastating consequences’.

Amnesty International is part of the Step Up Migrant Women coalition - a coalition of more than 50 BME and migrant specialist frontline domestic abuse and human rights organisations - which is urging the Government to ensure all victims of domestic abuse, no matter what they’re background or where they’re from, have equal access to safety and protection. 

Poll information:

Opinium interviewed 2,000 UK adults online between 24 and 27 April 2020. Results were weighted to achieve a nationally representative sample.

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