Calls to the national domestic abuse helpline in England rose by more than a fifth during the Coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

There were 49,756 calls to the helpline, run by Refuge, over the year to March 2021 – up 23 per cent from the previous year, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It said the rise was generally driven by peaks in calls during the national lockdowns.

It does not necessarily indicate a rise in the number of victims; it could also indicate an increase in severity of abuse or a lack of coping mechanisms during periods of restrictions.

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Mankind, which supports male victims of domestic abuse, said monthly calls to its helpline in the year to March this year were up 23 per cent on average from the previous year.

It received 1,759 calls from victims and 529 from people calling on their behalf – up from 1,355 and 500 respectively over the previous 12 months.

The majority 95.6 per cent of calls where the relationship to the perpetrator was recorded concerned a female partner or ex-partner.

It also reported a 61 per cent rise in visitors per month to the charity’s website compared to the previous 12 months.

(PA Media/dpa/NAN)

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