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Calls to UK’s national domestic abuse helpline up 65 pct during COVID-19 pandemic

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Calls for help to Britain’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by 65 percent from April to June compared with the first quarter of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Wednesday in a report.

Run by the British charity Refuge, the 24-hour helpline provides emotional and practical support to women experiencing domestic abuse, as well as to concerned family, friends and professionals, said the ONS.

Refuge also saw a 700 percent increase in the number of visits to its Helpline website (from 26,320 to 210,620), which holds information on recognising domestic abuse, safety planning and women’s rights and option, said the ONS.

On the same day, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a 4.9-million-United States-dollar package of measures to tackle domestic abuse in the British capital to mark the White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which both fall on Nov. 25.

Khan said London’s Metropolitan Police recorded a 37 percent increase in domestic abuse cases between March to July 2020 compared to the same period last year.

In the year ending March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed that an estimated 2.3 million adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse, including 1.6 million women and 757,000 men, said the ONS.

The ONS report was released during a month-long national lockdown in England, the second of its kind since the coronavirus outbreak in Britain, in a bid to quell the resurgence of coronavirus.

During the national lockdown, Britons are ordered to work from home, avoid social gatherings in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and save the National Health Service (NHS).

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

(XINHUA)

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