THE DORSET arm of a national charity that provides support and guidance for victims of crime have said that they have seen a rise in the number of domestic abuse and fraud cases during lockdown.

Whilst they have noticed a drop in referrals in general during the current lockdown, Victim Support say that the trends are in line with national findings.

Britain's national domestic abuse helpline, Refuge, reported last month that calls to its helpline have increased 66 percent since stay-at-home measures were implemented in March and visits to its website were up by 950 percent.

Under normal circumstances the crime type which the charity receives the most referrals for is violent crime, which reduced significantly during lockdown but has risen sharply to almost pre-lockdown volumes over the last couple of weeks.

The crime type which saw the sharpest fall in referral volume was burglary, this has again rebounded in recent weeks.

Operations Manager Rebecca Chaplain: “We are business as usual, supporting victims of crime throughout this pandemic.

"The only difference is that in line with social distancing guidelines we are providing all of our support over the phone or online via our live chat service. All of the team are home working so our office in Boscombe is currently closed.

"Our service remains free and confidential and is available to anyone in Dorset affected by crime regardless of when it happened or whether they have reported to the Police."

Since the gradual lifting of lockdown, the charity have already seen a steady rise in referrals.

This can be attributed to more people out socialising and a rise in tourists visiting the area in periods of good weather increasing opportunity and victim numbers.

Victim Support continues to see a rise in domestic abuse cases, which they think might be due to increased reporting opportunities now lockdown restrictions have relaxed, allowing victims time away from their abuser.

Rebecca said that the rise in domestic abuse referrals is “by far the most worrying cause”.

She added: “It’s important to recognise that this again is a national trend and is not necessarily ‘new’ cases of domestic abuse but largely people already in abusive relationships where the effects of lockdown have exacerbated issues.

“Clients can’t escape their abuse, there is no outlet for them they can’t even go to work in many cases. Their abuser is also likely to be angrier and more frustrated and tensions inevitably rise.

“Family finances if someone is self-employed or furloughed, children needing to be home schooled, everyone under the same roof without any personal space. All of these things build into a pressure cooker situation and put domestic abuse victims at a hugely increased risk of harm.”

If you’ve been affected by crime, Victim Support are able to provide the support you need to move forward. Their confidential and free service is available to all victims of crime regardless of whether the crime has been reported or how long ago it happened.

Clients can self-refer to their services for one to one support with a trained caseworker or supporter by phoning us on 0300 3030 163, open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and late on Tues and Thurs until 8pm.

To use Victim Support’s confidential live chat service, visit