This is a letter from Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline:

“Coronavirus lockdown is not responsible for domestic abuse - people are. That’s what we all need to remember.” Says Christine Roach, Chair of Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline. “What the lockdown has done, is heighten awareness of issues which have been hidden in our society for years and years.”

Home is meant to be a safe place but for many it is the opposite. Many victims are now trapped with their abusers in a pressure cooker environment. They can’t leave the house and can’t call for help. They may have children, who are also suffering through being trapped with the abuser.

Other countries coming out of lockdown are seeing a sharp increase in the number of domestic abuse cases (Spain and Italy have reported a 30 per cent increase). In the last month our call numbers have already risen by 13 per cent, with many people also contacting us via our new email service. Our website has seen an increase of 33 per cent in visits this month.

The police are already dealing with a rise in domestic abuse cases. They have given a clear message that they are still actively protecting victims and their families and pursuing perpetrators. Officers are equipped with personal protection equipment (PPE) and can attend domestic abuse incidents reported to them, whatever the circumstances.

Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline provides a confidential Freephone service for anyone affected by domestic abuse in the county. We don’t ask for names or any personal information. If you call, you can talk through your concerns with our well-trained call takers, who will then be able to signpost you to the services which are most likely to be able to help you. You then decide what you want to do next.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

The coronavirus lockdown has heightened awareness of domestic abuse. Photo: Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline

Our service is operating as normal during this lockdown period. You can call us on 08 088 088 088 Monday-Friday 9am-9pm and at weekends between 9am-4pm. We are liaising closely with Herts Constabulary and Herts County Council and endeavour to have up to date service operation information for the many Hertfordshire domestic abuse services.

However, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. If it is not safe to speak, use the Silent Solution and press 55 during the call which alerts the operator that you may be in danger.

We have also recently introduced a confidential email service – – to support those who cannot or don’t want to make a call. If you are finding it hard to find a safe time to talk, visit our website for more information.

Our service is not just for the victims themselves. Each year we receive calls from concerned friends and family members and also from professionals such as GPs or health visitors who may have patients/clients with them. Please contact us if you are concerned about someone you know.

As a society, coronavirus has lifted the lid on what was happening behind closed doors and forced us to see what was ‘normal’ for so many victims and survivors. We hope a future ‘return to normal’ includes a continued commitment to rid our society of domestic abuse.

Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline 08 088 088 088 – for more information about the many different types of domestic abuse including coercive and controlling behaviour.

General enquiries:

Readers are welcome to download and print our posters for their workplaces here: