MP: domestic abuse one of the most heart-breaking and dominant parts of my work
"We’re actually seeing domestic abuse rates rise alarmingly in some parts of the UK (during Covid-19 pandemic)"
Bristol South MP speaks out on domestic abuse in virtual Parliament
Karin Smyth, Labour MP for Bristol South, has spoken out on domestic abuse, calling it “one of the most heart-breaking and dominant” parts of her constituency casework.
During a debate in the now-virtual Parliament, Karin welcomed the return of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its second reading this week. She called the Bill “crucial” for her constituents due to the high rates of domestic abuse reported in south Bristol.
In 2018/19, police figures show that there were more than 10,000 domestic violence incidents across Bristol, but there are dramatic geographical disparities within these statistics. Parts of Karin’s Bristol South constituency have previously been assessed as having double the rates of incidents involving violence against women in particular, when compared to the national average.
The progress of the Domestic Abuse Bill was delayed because of last year’s General Election but the government has been under pressure to prioritise this issue, despite the remote-working issues now that Parliament has returned.
Speaking after the debate, Ms Smyth MP said:“I’m really pleased that the Domestic Abuse Bill has returned to Parliament. This is an issue that simply can’t wait until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Indeed, we’re actually seeing domestic abuse rates rise alarmingly in some parts of the UK.
“It’s positive that there’s such a significant amount of cross-party support for this Bill. This is vital if we are to deliver the changes, additional protections, and support both the victims and survivors of domestic abuse need and deserve.”
Calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline have risen by around 50 per cent since the social distancing measures were introduced. Shockingly, there were also 16 deaths reported of women and children linked to domestic abuse in just the first two weeks of the lockdown.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be used by calling: 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, always dial 999.