Big rise in domestic abuse calls during lockdown

There has been a considerable shift in the type of abuse recorded during lockdown
- Dr Ria Ivandić

Reports of domestic abuse to the Metropolitan police increased by 11% during lockdown compared with the same period last year, new research shows.

The rise in calls to London’s Metropolitan Police Service– around 380 more per week – was almost entirely due to reports from third parties, according to the researchers at LSE's Centre for Economic Performance (CEP).

The study – Domestic abuse in times of quarantine, published in CEP’s CentrePiece magazine – also finds that the level of crime, rather than calls, by current partners or family members had increased by 8.5% and 16.4% respectively - while abuse by ex-partners fell by 9.4%.

The research was carried out with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Strategic Insight Unit (SIU), using five years of crime records and two years of calls to the Met up to 14 June 2020.

“There has been a considerable shift in the type of abuse recorded during lockdown, with abuse by ex-partners falling but abuse by current partners or family members rising,” Dr Ria Ivandić, research co-author and postdoctoral CEP research economist, said.

“This is important as it shows some people are suffering considerably more: these victims should be targeted by focused policies. Our work also highlights the opportunity to consider how to maintain a reduction in ex-partner abuse as the lockdown eases.”

Professor Tom Kirchmaier, director of the CEP’s policing and crime research group and co-author, said: “The increase in calls from third parties might point to an increased awareness of noise because neighbours are now at home, or a potential under-reporting by domestic abuse victims, or a combination of these factors.

“In response to concerns that domestic abuse victims were not able to contact the police, the SIU and LSE launched a targeted social media campaign to promote the Silent Solution, which allows victims to contact the police with minimal verbal communication. Our research into how best to communicate with victims is continuing.”

The social media campaign launched by LSE and the Metropolitan police directed people to, which provides information on how 999 calls can be used to alert the police even if the caller cannot speak.

Read the full paper here: