A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has found that victims of domestic abuse were put at greater risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

The review revealed that on average three in every four domestic abuse-related crimes are closed by the police without the perpetrator being charged.

But in the inspection of how officers responded to domestic abuse during the pandemic, forces were praised for the efforts made to prevent the crime and protect victims.

Responding to the findings of the report, Valerie Wise, National Domestic Abuse Lead at Victim Support, said:

Although we welcome the report’s findings that the police have used innovative new ways to respond to domestic abuse during the pandemic, it is extremely discouraging that three out of four cases are closed without perpetrators being charged. This is a poor outcome and the fact that the charge rate continues to fall is a concerning trend.

“During the pandemic demand for our services has increased and remains at 25% above average. Our research into the impact of crime and Covid-19 has also indicated that in some instances the police response to domestic abuse incidents has been slow and victims have been encouraged to go down the civil routes, for example applying for non-molestation orders, as a result of the court backlogs.

“Significant action needs to be taken now to address these challenges and to prevent victims and survivors from losing confidence in the criminal justice system.”

For more information, please contact Victim Support’s press office, press@victimsupport.org.uk or call 07766 070660.