The Government announced £2m in support for domestic abuse hotlines after 20 days of lockdown, and launched a social media campaign to encourage victims to come forward. But it was criticised by a charity for taking so long to act.
Fiona Dwyer, chief executive of Solace, a charity, said: “The timing was dreadful, it should not have taken 19 days to mobilise any sort of action.”
She said the delay highlighted that domestic abuse “wasn’t a priority for the Government”.
Victoria Atkins, the minister for safeguarding, told Panorama she does not believe the Government was slow to act.
She said: “We were talking to charities in the very, very earliest days, we were very much responding. We said to them what do you need for us to help, so we very much focused on that practical help whilst also preparing for the charities’ bid that the chancellor announced and then the additional £2 million for helplines.”
The programme is presented by Victoria Derbyshire and is on BBC1 tonight.
Women’s Aid run a Live Chat service between 10am-4pm weekdays, and 10am and 12pm on weekends, along with other online services and the UK Domestic Abuse Directory for your local domestic abuse service at www.womensaid.org.uk.
You can contact the The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247 (run by Refuge). If you are in immediate danger always call 999.