CHARITIES have warned that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to increase domestic violence – with thousands of incidents already reported to Thames Valley Police last year.

Women's charities have warned that domestic abusers will use the lockdown as a 'tool' for coercive control.

The latest Home Office data shows that TVP recorded 6,079 domestic abuse incidents in 2018 to 2019.

A joint statement from Women’s Aid, End Violence Against Women and several others warns Covid-19 will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children as “home is not always a place of safety”.

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The statement said: “We know perpetrators will use infection control measures as a tool of coercive and controlling behaviour.

“Access to support for women and children may also shrink further due to social isolation and those in poverty will be severely impacted.

“Measures to decrease social contact are likely to have significant mental health impacts on the population, and this could be acute for survivors coping and recovering from trauma.”

They added that women will be “disproportionately impacted” by the coronavirus, as they are over-represented in the care sector, more likely to be in low-paid work, more reliant on social security and the worst impacted by poverty.

Last week the chief of TVP said that he expected there to be a rise in the number of calls about domestic abuse to the force.

He said: “We are seeing and monitoring very closely the issues around domestic abuse, we anticipate that it might increase, and we will deal with that robustly in a way that you would expect us to."

The elected-head also warned that criminals would 'exploit' the lockdown but that most people would 'obey'.

Anybody in immediate danger should call 999.

Other incidents can be reported to police on 101 or online.