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Coronavirus: Rise in domestic abuse-related web searches amid COVID-19 lockdown

A surge in abuse-related searches could be a sign people are identifying themselves as victims for the first time, an expert says.

Victims of domestic abuse have been reaching out for help in ever increasing numbers.

Research has revealed a significant rise in online searches relating to domestic violence during the lockdown and since the spread of coronavirus increased.

From February to March, traffic to the website for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by 156%, according to a study by online research company SEMrush.

Searches for “what is domestic abuse?” rose by 46% in the same period, and there was a 64% rise in searches for the phrases “domestic violence shelter” and “domestic abuse shelter”.

Lisa King, from the domestic violence charity Refuge, believes this is a sign some women are identifying themselves as being victims of domestic abuse for the first time and “are now reaching out for support in a way that they haven’t done before”.

“The message from government and from Refuge is that if you are experiencing domestic abuse and you want to leave your household and you are safe to do so, to then reach out and access support,” she said.

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