Children are reportedly attacking their parents because they are not being allowed out during the coronavirus lockdown, a House of Commons committee has heard.
Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird told the Commons Justice Committee on Tuesday that there had been reports of a “new kind of domestic abuse” emerging during the stay-at-home order.
“There’s some suggestion of abuse by older children on parents which is probably suggestive of kids wanting to go out and not being allowed to,” Dame Vera said.
“We’re talking teenagers, and that is a worry,” she added.
She told MPs: “This is a newer kind of domestic abuse which is probably suggestive of kids wanting to go out and not being allowed to. We are talking teenagers.
“That is, I think, a worry and there’s a sense in which there’s a spike likely to emerge of this kind of domestic abuse complaining which is just coming through now.”
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Dame Vera also told the committee there has been “quite a big spike” in calls to helplines about anti-social behaviour during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dame Vera told the committee: “There’s quite a big uptake in help for dealing with anti-social behaviour.
“It looks like, if I can put it this way, people are getting more frustrated and slightly angrier at things like noise nuisance, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given what’s going on.
“But that is a big upturn, quite a big spike in calls about anti-social behaviour.”
Dame Vera said the government had been guilty of “poor leadership” in dealing with the pandemic and warned there would be a “tsunami of complaints” as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
She called on the government to prepare for an increase in domestic abuse cases and said that, even through her testimony was anecdotal rather than data-driven, “there were some real features emerging”.
Despite home secretary Priti Patel promising extra funding for abuse headlines over Easter, Dame Vera said that money had not been received.
“The worry is that it will get worse and worse and domestic violence does tend to escalate when it’s not stopped,” Dame Vera added.
“Sexual violence is also extremely worrying, two-thirds of sexual abuse happens inside the home.”