The price of a life

 
Toby Young was branded 'heartless' for the comments

Toby Young was branded ‘heartless’ for the comments

POLITICAL commentator Toby Young has been branded “heartless” after claiming spending cash on saving elderly people from the coronavirus pandemic is “irresponsible”. Writing in The Critic Mag, Young was critical of the UK Government’s willingness to spend cash to limit the effects of the outbreak.

Young wrote: “Like a growing number of people, I’m beginning to suspect the Government has overreacted to the coronavirus crisis. I’m not talking about the cost to our liberty, although that’s worrying, but the economic cost.

“Even if we accept the statistical modelling of Dr Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College, which I’ll come to in a minute, spending £350 billion to prolong the lives of a few hundred thousand mostly elderly people is an irresponsible use of taxpayer’s money.”

Support for eugenics never really went away, but this is how it’s becoming mainstream again

People reacted furiously to the comments on social media.

Journalist and National columnist Ruth Wishart was scathing, writing: “I daresay most sentient beings believe Toby Young is heartless, waste of space. So you do wonder why he feels it necessary to keep proving it.”

Byline Times editor Peter Jukes warned Young’s views could be “outright deadly” in this time of crisis.

He posted: “In normal times the far right eugenicist views of people like Toby Young are just shameful and embarrassing. During a pandemic they can be outright deadly.”

And author Darren McGarvey suggested Young’s views were not so different to the concept of austerity. H wrote: “Was austerity not basically letting people die to save the economy? Have we not tried Toby Young’s idea already?”

In the article, which was accompanied by an extensive Twitter thread, Young echoed US President by making the case for stopping the lockdown ahead of April 14 – the day after Easter Monday.

Responding to suggestions he would change his mind if he contracted Covid-19 himself, Young said he thought he already had the virus.

He added: “If the Government does end the lockdown, and it turns out that by the time I require critical care the NHS cannot accommodate me, I won’t regret writing this.”

He said he viewed his own death as “acceptable collateral damage” to prevent GDP dropping significantly and damaging more lives in the long-term.

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Anger over terrifying intensive care guidance

Coronavirus

By John Pring – DNS  

New guidance for the NHS on which coronavirus patients should receive intensive care treatment has heightened fears among activists that many disabled people will be refused life-saving treatment if they are admitted to hospital.

The guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that all adult COVID-19 patients should be assessed for “frailty” when admitted to hospital, and that “comorbidities and underlying health conditions” should be taken into account.

Following alarm and outrage from disabled people and allies, the government body announced late yesterday (Wednesday) that it had produced an updated guideline.

But the new version has not eased all those concerns, with one disability campaigner warning that disabled people who need support would still be less likely to receive critical care if the guideline was followed and one grassroots group of disabled people saying that it was “not reassured” by the amendments.

It was the use of the CFS “frailty” scoring system that caused most alarm, with the guideline suggesting that those with a score as low as five – those seen as “mildly frail”, who often need help with transportation, heavy housework and medication (nine represents someone who is terminally ill) – might not be considered appropriate for critical care and might be steered towards end-of-life care instead if their condition deteriorated.

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Benefit & universal credit sanctions suspended for three months

Benefit and universal credit sanctions suspended for three months because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The move is to allow staff to focus on processing new claims – with millions more people set to enrol onto the scheme in the next fortnight after the Government increased the universal credit allowance by £1,000 – The Mirror

People are being told not to visit their local job centre 

The Government has agreed to ban all benefit sanctions for at least 90 days as coronavirus numbers continue to rise in the UK.

Benefit and universal credit claimants who fail to look for work won’t face sanctions for the next three months, while reviews and assessments have also been suspended until June, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.

This is to allow staff to focus on processing new claims – with millions more people set to enrol onto universal credit in the next fortnight after the Government announced plans to increase the standard allowance by £1,000 to help struggling families.

Work and pensions secretary of state, Thérèse Coffey, said: “As this country ramps up its efforts to support people through coronavirus, we will do whatever it takes to protect claimants and our staff. “We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”

DWP plans to ‘close’ “open ended” #BenefitSanctions incurred in Universal Credit, JSA, ESA and IS. You can request they be closed NOW

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She added: “Recognising the need for DWP civil servants to focus on the processing of claims, we will not be checking conditionality compliance regarding looking for and being available for work for the next three months. “This means no sanctions should be applied for that reason for the next three months and regulations will be introduced to bring that to effect.”

Under the measures, people receiving benefits are being told not to attend jobcentre appointments for at least three months. This is to reduce face to face contact during the pandemic.

Reviews and reassessments for universal credit, employment and support allowance (ESA), personal independence payment (PIP), disability living allowance, attendance allowance and the industrial injuries disablement benefit have also been temporarily suspended.

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been cancelled for the next three months, including for any new claims. Plus, benefit sanctions for failing to look for work and for not making yourself available for work have been suspended for three months.

If you are due for a review of your payments, the DWP says it will extend the end date to ensure you’re not left without money. However if your situation changes you should still contact DWP as normal to ensure you receive the correct level of support.

 

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New blood test can detect 50 types of cancer

This should be welcome news to people like my husband, he has ‘genetic. cancer, he is one of 6 children and 4 of them have passed away and my hubby and his sister are cancer survivors. My husband has skin cancer and he has to have growths cut out and he was never a sun worshipper.


System uses machine learning to offer new way to screen for hard-to-detect cancers. 

Pancreatic cancer cells. The AI-based system detected 63% of stage I pancreatic cancers, and 100% at stage IV in the study
 Pancreatic cancer cells. The AI-based system detected 63% of stage I pancreatic cancers, and 100% at stage IV in the study. 

A new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer has been revealed by researchers in the latest study to offer hope for early detection. The test is based on DNA that is shed by tumours and found circulating in the blood. More specifically, it focuses on chemical changes to this DNA, known as methylation patterns.

Researchers say the test can not only tell whether someone has cancer, but can also shed light on the type of cancer they have.

Dr Geoffrey Oxnard of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, part of Harvard Medical School, said the test was now being explored in clinical trials. “You need to use a test like this in an independent group at risk of cancer to actually show that you can find the cancers, and figure out what to do about it when you find them,” he said.

Writing in the journal Annals of Oncology, the team reveal how the test was developed using a machine learning algorithm – a type of artificial intelligence. Such systems pick up on patterns within data and as a result learn to classify it.

The team initially fed the system with data on methylation patterns in DNA from within blood samples taken from more than 2,800 patients, before further training it with data from 3,052 participants, 1,531 of whom had cancer and 1,521 of whom did not.

Using this information, the system sorted the samples into groups based on the methylation patterns. The team then taught the system which groups reflected which type of cancer.

“In pregnant women we look in their free-floating DNA for foetal abnormalities,” said Oxnard. “We know this [approach] exists, the question is how do you fine-tune and perfect the art of looking for cancer in this free-floating DNA? And that is what the machine learning did.”

The team then tested the trained system on another set of samples from 1,264 individuals, about half of whom had cancer.

The results reveal that less than 1% of those without cancer were wrongly identified by the system as having the disease. “It is really important you don’t tell non-cancer patients they have cancer,” said Oxnard.

When it came to identifying people with cancers the team found that, across more than 50 different types of cancer, the system correctly detected that the disease was present 44% of the time – although the team stress that figure could differ if the test was used to screen a general population, rather than those known to have cancer.

Detection was better the more advanced the disease was. Overall, cancer was correctly detected in 18% of those with stage I cancer, but in 93% of those with stage IV cancer.

The team say the results are exciting as they offer the possibility of a new way to screen for cancers that are otherwise difficult to detect. For example, the system correctly identified 63% of those with stage I pancreatic cancer, rising to 100% in stage IV.

The team further found that the system could shed light on the type of cancer. For 96% of samples deemed to show cancer, the test was able to offer a prediction for in which the tissue the cancer originated, with 93% of these predictions found to be correct.

Dr David Crosby, head of early detection at Cancer Research UK, said that detecting cancers in their early stages is important as they are less aggressive and more treatable.

Although this test was still at an early stage of development, the initial results were encouraging, he said. “And if the test can be fine-tuned to be more efficient at catching cancers in their earliest stages, it could become a tool for early detection.”

But Crosby added there was work to do. “More research is needed to improve the test’s ability to catch early cancers and we still need to explore how it might work in a real cancer screening scenario,” he said.

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Coronavirus rules are slide into a police state’

Coronavirus rules are ‘hysterical slide into a police state’, warns top judge
The former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption hit out at the heavy-handed measures taken by Derbyshire Police

A former Supreme Court justice has warned that the public are displaying “collective hysteria” over coronavirus. Lord Sumption, who retired as a justice at the UK’s highest court in 2018, hit out at the way that some police forces are interpreting the new rules.

He said: “The pressure on politicians has come from the public, they want action. They don’t pause to ask whether the action will work, they don’t ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying – they want action anyway.

Lord Sumption told Radio 4’s The World At One:”Anyone who has studied history will recognise here the classic symptoms of collective hysteria. “Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease.”

He added: “Yes, this is serious, and, yes, it’s understandable that people cry out to the Government, but the real question is, is this serious enough to warrant putting most of our population into house imprisonment, wrecking our economy for an indefinite period, destroying businesses that honest and hard-working people have taken years to build up, saddling future generations with debt?

“Depressions, stress, heart attacks, suicides and unbelievable stress inflicted on millions of people who are not especially vulnerable and will suffer only mild symptoms or none at all like the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister.”

Lord Sumption also criticised Derbyshire Police for having “shamed our policing traditions”. The police force caused controversy when they used drones to deter people from breaking the lockdown rules by travelling to remote areas for their daily exercise. They showed footage shaming people walking dogs in the Peak District. Officers also dyed Buxton’s blue lagoon black to discourage people from visiting the beauty spot.

He added: “The tradition of policing in this country is that policemen are citizens in uniform, they are not members of a disciplined hierarchy operating just at the Government’s command.

“Yet in some parts of the country the police have been trying to stop people from doing things like travelling to take exercise in the open country which are not contrary to the regulations simply because ministers have said that they would prefer us not to.

“The police have no power to enforce ministers’ preferences but only legal regulations which don’t go anything like as far as the Government’s guidance. “I have to say that the behaviour of Derbyshire Police in trying to shame people in using their undoubted right to travel to take exercise in the country and wrecking beauty spots in the fells so people don’t want to go there is frankly disgraceful.

“This is what a police state is like. It’s a state in which the Government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority and the police will enforce ministers’ wishes.”

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Justice system in meltdown with criminal court cases backlog

Coronavirus sends justice system into ‘meltdown’ as criminal court case backlog passes 37,000. Prisons on lockdown as ideological intervention for terrorists stopped and probation supervision weakened.

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The criminal justice system is going into “meltdown” because of coronavirus and a huge backlog of cases caused by government cuts, lawyers have said.

Thousands of hearings have been delayed indefinitely because of the outbreak, which has also sparked the collapse of several high-profile trials, as courts restrict operations to urgent matters. But official figures show that a backlog of cases waiting to be heard was growing rapidly before coronavirus had an impact.

The number of outstanding cases increased by 13 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter of 2019 to 37,434. Legal associations blame the rise on reductions to court sitting days to make financial savings.

A spokesperson for the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) told The Independent: “We are really at the point of meltdown and paying the price of years of cuts that began under Chris Grayling and have continued largely unabated since.” Appearing before the Justice Committee last week, the current justice secretary said he planned to “increase sitting days significantly”.

Robert Buckland admitted that coronavirus was a “different order of magnitude”, adding: “It is my aim to work very closely with the judiciary to make sure we have a recovery plan … it is important that we will be able to return with gusto to making sure we can list cases for trial and deal with what would be quite an alarming backlog if no work was done between now and then.”

The CBA said the original increase of 4,700 crown court sitting days was “derisory” after the government cut 15,100 in the last financial year.

Chair Caroline Goodwin QC accused the Ministry of Justice of making a “shambolic miscalculation” of court capacity even before the coronavirus outbreak. “The CBA will be holding the justice secretary to his commitment made to parliament this week to fully reopen the courts once the pandemic is over,” she added.

“Justice delayed is justice denied and we all pay the price for unjustifiable delays – defendants, suspects, witnesses, victims of crime and their families alike, let alone the entire criminal legal profession.”

The Law Society said the “whole system is slowing down” with new criminal trials stopped and magistrates’ only handling the most urgent cases, such as terror charges and overnight custody hearings.

Richard Atkinson, co-chair of the Criminal Law Committee, said confusion about what could go ahead was seeing witnesses and defendants crowd into magistrates’ courts for scheduled hearings, only to be turned away.

“The capacity of the courts is physically limited – even if you man every court when this is over you’re still going to have an extended backlog, plus the new stuff coming through,” he told The Independent.

“Full capacity will need to be maintained for a significant period of time in order to get on top of everything. We need a government commitment to an extended period of full resourcing.”

Both the Law Society and CBA raised concern that the lack of current court hearings would put solicitors’ firms and barristers out of business, meaning there will not be enough lawyers to take on the case backlog after the coronavirus outbreak.

More than half of all court and tribunal buildings have been closed, with 157 remaining open for “priority” hearings and others open only to staff to support video and telephone hearings.

The closures are having a knock-on effect on overcrowding in prisons, where there are calls to release vulnerable inmates as the virus spreads.

As of 1pm on Thursday, two inmates with coronavirus had died and 27 had tested positive in 14 jails, as well as five prison staff in five jails and four prisoner escort and custody staff.

The government has so far resisted calls to release vulnerable inmates, and on Wednesday a judge dismissed an application to bail out Julian Assange over the virus.

Officials have “paused” the normal regime in prisons, meaning that inmates are locked up for longer without education, work or rehabilitation programmes.

To avoid the risk of riots, which caused several deaths in Italy, 900 secure mobile phones are being given to prisoners across 55 prisons so they can contact loved ones. Delays to trials mean that inmates may be held on remand for a longer period than they would serve if convicted of their alleged offence.

Around 3,500 prison staff are in isolation and unable to work, forcing inmates to be locked in their cells for much of the day to maintain control and enforce social distancing.

Terrorists are no longer meeting with ideological mentors who work to decrease the risk they will pose to the public, and group therapy for paedophiles has stopped. HM Prisons and Probation Service has banned visits and “paused” the normal regime, meaning exercise, education, training and rehabilitative activity has ground to a halt. And when prisoners are freed, they will not be supervised to the normal standard because of social distancing and staff shortages.

The National Probation Service has around 800 staff in isolation and is switching to “doorstep visits” and video calls rather than face-to-face meetings for all but the most dangerous offenders.

Terrorists and offenders who cannot access a phone will still be met in person, as will all freed prisoners having their initial probation appointment.

Doorstep visits, seeing probation officers stand outside homes and speak to offenders from a distance or on the phone, will be the default option for around 16,000 other high-risk offenders and those with domestic abuse or other safeguarding issues.

Unpaid work and other programmes imposed as part of community sentences have been stopped.

Mr Buckland has suggested that the lockdown measures imposed over coronavirus would aid risk management. “Those who don’t observe those constraints will be more noticeable and obvious within our community,” he told MPs. “I do think that to some degree that will assist us with management of some of the cohort we’re dealing with.”

Coronavirus has forced the Parole Board to stop hearings while it tries to find an alternative to meeting in person, but automatic release from jail continues.

A HM Prison and Probation Service spokesperson said: “Probation officers will continue supervising in person those who pose the highest risk ensuring the monitoring of high-risk offenders remains as tough as it always is. If staff believe it is the right thing to do, offenders can always be recalled to prison.

“At the same time, we will use technology more to supervise lower-risk offenders to reduce the spread of the virus. These measures will be regularly reviewed.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The figures show that waiting times for crown court cases were the lowest ever. The lord chancellor recently increased the number of sitting days to tackle the rise in outstanding cases.”

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Don’t make coronavirus treatment decisions solely based on age,

Don’t make coronavirus treatment decisions solely based on age, charities urge

 
An elderly woman’s hands

Decisions over which coronavirus patients should receive priority treatment should not be based solely on age or care home residence, charities have said. Blanket decisions solely based on a patient’s age would be “completely unacceptable” and discriminatory, said a coalition of organisations for older people.

It would also be discriminatory to use people’s care home residence as a proxy for their health status, they argue, and blanket policies on hospital admission based on this factor would be “unfair”.

Anecdotally, charities are aware of suggestions in certain areas that care home residents will not be admitted to hospital if they have Covid-19, and only in exceptional circumstances for other reasons.

The nine signatories include Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, and the Commissioners for Older People in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Any suggestion that treatment decisions can be blanket ones, based on age alone or with a person’s age given undue weight as against other factors, such as their usual state of health and capacity to benefit from treatment, would be completely unacceptable

They said in a joint statement: “Any suggestion that treatment decisions can be blanket ones, based on age alone or with a person’s age given undue weight as against other factors, such as their usual state of health and capacity to benefit from treatment, would be completely unacceptable.

CORONAVIRUS: Disabled people fear they will be denied treatment

“For many years we have known that chronological age is a very poor proxy for an individual’s health status and resilience – something we all see among the older people in our lives. “To ignore this and to revert to an approach based solely or mainly on age would be, by definition, ageist, discriminatory and morally wrong.”

Instead, assessments should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis through honest discussion with the patient, their family and relevant professionals.

They added: “There is no reason to abandon this long-established good practice now; in fact the current health emergency makes it more critical than ever that we keep it.”

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Coronavirus has mercilessly exposed the damage of years of austerity

In this crisis, the Tory cuts can no longer be hidden by empty gestures. Coronavirus has mercilessly exposed the damage years of austerity and shrinking of the state have wreaked. 

Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson
 Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson: ‘In the middle of a profound sense of community, a jarring moment.

Last week, as the nation engaged in a coordinated applause for the NHS and its workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, there was, in the middle of a profound sense of community, a jarring moment: Boris Johnson emerged from No 10 and began clapping, along with Rishi Sunak. The prime minister punctuated his applause with awkward exclamations: “We’ll keep supporting you in any way we can.” At one point he turned to Sunak, “Isn’t that right, Rishi?” to which the chancellor replied, “Whatever you need, that’s what you’re going to get!” It all had the air of a friend who had habitually ignored you, then one day unexpectedly needed you, and so returned with empty gestures of affection. 

And empty is what these gestures are when they come from the Conservative party, whose record and current performance suggest nothing close to “supporting in any way we can”. Frontline NHS staff do not have sufficient protective equipment or even access to coronavirus tests: they are merely instructed to self-isolate once their symptoms reach a certain threshold. And the reason so many NHS staff have to work extra hours with no pay is because they do not have the resources to do otherwise – something that many of us knew as we stood up and clapped and cheered for them as a nation. Those resources have been consistently and deliberately drained from the NHS since the Conservative-Liberal coalition came to power in 2010. From defunding nurse training to selling off parts of the NHS to private companies, the Tory party in power has hobbled the healthcare system’s ability to deal with the everyday, let alone the exceptional. Conservative MPs cheered the result of a parliamentary vote in 2017 that blocked a pay rise for nurses, of which there is a severe shortage in the NHS – 40,000 in England alone.

This is the natural conclusion for a party that has substituted culture for policy – a shift with dire consequences for the public’s ability to hold government to account for its performance. The Brexit referendum accelerated this. When politics is reduced to nothing but rhetoric about taking back control and getting Brexit done, the entire news complex also starts to function along those lines. Journalism spends less time scrutinising performance and concrete achievements, and more time covering the politics of division, or becoming divisive itself. And while the media and rightwing politicians and many newspapers fixated endlessly on immigration, Muslims, the liberal elite, the traitors in the judiciary and the citizen of nowhere, a pandemic was quietly making its way to us – to expose the way that our public health system, our labour rights and our consumer protections had all been gutted or neglected during this time.

But the link will not necessarily be made in voters’ minds. Austerity and the withdrawal of the state have gone on for so long that many have forgotten that it wasn’t always like this, and that it doesn’t always have to be. The Tory government itself pretends that it would love to help but its hands are tied: by open borders, by the EU, by the need to deal with the fiscal mess allegedly left by New Labour’s social spending (but not by the bailing out of the financial sector). Help can be wrested from the government by harassing it publicly on discrete single issues: free parking for NHS doctors, compensation for Windrush victims. And once the spotlight fades, the government’s fist tightens once again.

There is nothing inherently wrong with campaigning and governing by way of providing voters with a sort of currency of identity, but it cannot be everything. For this government, it is everything. That was made horrifyingly clear as stories begin to emerge of the chaos in Johnson’s unprepared ranks during their cobbling together of a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite warnings, the government, and Johnson, minimised the threat and defied the science, reaching for exceptionalism, for the optics of cheerfully shaking hands with the afflicted. But that isn’t the whole story. Johnson has the licence to clap an NHS his party has suffocated because the Conservatives have successfully created an ecosystem that fortifies them against the consequences of their mendacity and their failure.

In stable times the cost of that can be hidden. Austerity has already claimed lives; but, because of their speed and visibility, coronavirus deaths are not as easy to style out. We no longer know how to hold a government to account on the truly important matters of the day. The pandemic needs to be a wake-up call – or else the Conservative government will continue to kill us, then walk at our funeral.

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Suspend the benefit cap during pandemic to protect disabled people

Charities ask the DWP to suspend the benefit cap during the pandemic crisis to protect disabled people. YEAH LIKE THAT’S GONNA HAPPEN!

48375220392_8a676e16ba_b_Therese-Coffey

The Government has been urged to make changes to the benefits system in order to protect those that are disabled or seriously unwell during the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) said that such groups could be among those most at risk during the crisis.

The consortium, comprised of more than 100 organisations with an interest in disability and social security, also warned that disabled people in work and parents of disabled children could lose out financially as a result of the emergency.

Among the proposals outlined by the DBC include a call to give higher priority to resolving technical and capacity issues in the benefits system, as well as providing clear guidance for making both a digital claim for Universal Credit (UC) and a non-digital claim.

Tips on staying healthy amid coronavirus outbreak

  • Wash your hands properly
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Don’t share toothbrushes
  • Avoid wearing gloves
  • Don’t kiss your pets
  • Avoid herbal remedies
  • Use handshake alternatives

Ella Abraham, campaigns co-chair of the DBC, said: “These are unprecedented and extremely worrying times for so many people, across all of our organisations we are seeing the detrimental impact this is having on disabled and unwell people’s physical and mental health.

“It is therefore crucial the Department for Work and Pensions implement these changes with immediate effect to ensure people are not pushed further into poverty.”

Anastasia Berry, policy manager at the MS Society and policy co-chair of the DBC, called for financial support and reassurance to be given to those living with MS. She said: “While we understand this is a time of crisis, we urge the Government not to lose sight of the 130,000 people living with MS in the UK.

“Now more than ever, people with this condition desperately need financial support and reassurance for the future.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and the current crisis is making life even harder for many. The steps recommended by the DBC today will be essential to help ease people’s growing anxiety in this uncertain time.”

 

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Domestic abuse victims can leave home to access help during lockdown

Coronavirus: Domestic abuse victims can leave home to access help during lockdown, Priti Patel says. Police say there has already been a rise in domestic violence during virus outbreak

Restorative justice could dramatically cut domestic violence ...

Domestic abuse victims are permitted to leave home to escape their partners or ask for help during the coronavirus lockdown, the home secretary has clarified.

Priti Patel’s announcement comes after police reported there had already been a rise in abuse since the crisis began, while the national domestic violence helpline has received more calls.

The government has brought in strict social distancing rules to curb the spread of the pandemic, with people instructed to remain in their homes except for exercise once a day and to shop for essential supplies

The home secretary acknowledged the restrictions were even more difficult for those whose “home is not the safe haven it should be”. “I am acutely aware that the necessary guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation may leave the victims of hidden crime, such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, feeling especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed,” Ms Patel wrote in her column in the Mail on Sunday.

“But my message to every potential victim is simple: we have not forgotten you and we will not let you down. And my message to every perpetrator is equally as simple: you will not get away with your crimes.”

“As we come together as a nation to fight this virus, it is important we do not close our eyes to the threats other people, particularly, women, are facing.”

Campaigners around the world say domestic abuse has surged as social isolation measures have been rolled out. China saw a threefold increase in cases of domestic abuse reported to police stations in February in comparison with the year before.

Refuge, the UK’s largest provider of shelters for domestic violence victims, has released advice for people up trapped indoors with their abusers. The charity advised victims to keep their mobile phones with them and charged up and to try to avoid the kitchen, garage or places in other places in home which have items that could used as weapons.

Police in Cumbria have urged postal workers and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for potential indications of abuse.

Every week in the UK two women are murdered by a current or former partner.

Conservative government austerity measures have been blamed for a chronic shortage of spaces in domestic abuse refuges, with local authority spending on such centres cut from £31.2m in 2010 to £23.9m in 2017, forcing several to close their doors in recent years.

Charities recently told The Independent they are offering online support to domestic abuse victims forced to isolate with their partners after concerns violence could soar under social isolation measures.

Frontline service providers warned self-isolation could be a dangerous for women trapped inside with their abuser whose behaviour may be aggravated by the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic.

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/