Victoria Derbyshire presents BBC show with domestic abuse helpline written on hand

Caroline Allen
Contributor
The helpline has seen as 25% increase in calls. (Getty Images)

Praise has flooded in for Victoria Derbyshire after she presented the BBC news with the number for the National Domestic Abuse helpline written on her hand.

This comes after the charity, Refuge, announced a 25% increase in calls in the last week to their helpline amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The website has also had a 150% increase in visitors during the last seven days.

Campaigners warned of the strain a nationwide lockdown would have on sufferers of domestic abuse ahead of the stricter measures which were imposed on 23 March.

Derbyshire addressed the issue, encouraging people in need of help to use the helpline provided, which is always open.

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People shared their praise for the presenter on social media after she spoke out about it on the show.

“Two women a week were killed by a partner or ex before coronavirus. A fact that is shocking enough.

“Now, some people will be trapped with a violent perpetrator in self-isolation or partial lockdown and it’s even more vital to get the helpline number out there so people know there is someone right now available to take your call and help you if you are in a violent or threatening situation.

“I’d written the number on my hand to tweet a photo of it at 7am this morning and left it on my skin deliberately in case it could help any of the millions watching after 9am on BBC 1.” Derbyshire told The Independent.

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“This really worked, I am fortunate to not be in the position to need this number, but it grabbed my attention so much I googled to see what the number was for, such an amazing idea and could save so many lives!” One Twitter user wrote.

“Being in lockdown in bad enough, now imagine doing it with someone who terrifies you.” Tommy Corbyn, the son of Jeremy Corbyn, added in praise for Derbyshire’s message.

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Refuge has just announced a partnership with Chelsea FC in a bid to shine a light on women and children affected by domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the charity said: “Reports from around the world show that the COVID-19 global pandemic has led to an increase in domestic abuse incidents during periods of isolation and lock down. Experts are warning that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to a ‘domestic abuse pandemic’.”

Refuge said that self-isolation could aggravate “pre-existing abusive behaviours” and the close proximity to the perpetrator could make it harder for people to report cases.

“The window for women to seek help ordinarily is extremely limited,” the statement added.

“The current periods of isolation mean that window is reduced yet more. Refuge wants women to know they are not alone and can still access its support, via its specialist services that run across the country, by telephone and digitally.”