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UN warns 6 months of coronavirus lockdowns could lead to 31M cases of domestic violence

UN warns 6 months of coronavirus lockdowns could lead to 31M cases of domestic violence
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An additional six months of lockdown measures could lead to more than 60 million incidents of domestic violence worldwide, a United Nations report estimated.

Researchers with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), using data from Johns Hopkins University, Australia’s Victoria University and Avenir Health, predicted 61 million further incidents of abuse beyond those already projected in such a scenario, CBS News reported.

"It is a growing crisis within the crisis. We need to pay maximum attention to this now," UNFPA deputy director Ramiz Alakbarov told CBS. "It's truly disturbing. And if we don't do anything about it — if we don't talk about it, if we don't ring the alarm bell — every three months there will be an additional 15 million cases.”

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London’s Metropolitan Police said they made approximately 4,000 domestic abuse arrests in the initial six weeks of the United Kingdom's lockdown measures. Overall, they said domestic violence calls were up about 33 percent. A domestic abuse hotline unaffiliated with the police said calls were up 49 percent during the same period.

"Action is needed during the COVID-19 crisis — both during lockdowns and after them — to prevent and tackle abuse and to support victims, otherwise families and communities will be dealing with those serious consequences for many years," stated a report by members of the British Parliament published Monday, according to CBS.

Lockdown measures, in addition to trapping victims of domestic violence with their abusers, could also reduce access to help or services, Alakbarov told CBS.

"This is a universal phenomenon which is happening. So let's pay attention. ... Let's talk about it. Let's not silence it," he told CBS News. "Violence at home is on the rise. Victims and potential victims must be able to access life-saving care and support, even during the lockdown. We cannot forget women and girls during the pandemic. Let's focus on them."