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John Newman

Cases of sexual and domestic violence rise in Oxfordshire

Demand on the Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre has increased during lockdown.

The charity - which supports survivors - says there's been an increase in incidences of sexual and domestic violence here in Oxfordshire.

The Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre says across the UK domestic femicides - where women are killed by their partners - appear to have doubled since social distancing measures began.

Demand for OSARCC's services is 'already oversubscribed' and 'expected to rise rapidly' according to officials, who are worried many more crimes are going unreported.

CEO Lisa Ward said: "OSARCC was 40 years old last year and with our firm foundation in the county we are very much still here for all survivors who need us.  

"We will always welcome anyone who needs our support to contact us. Nevertheless, we are concerned about our long-term capacity to meet demand especially when so many fundraising events have had to be postponed."

Lockdown means The Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre is already estimating an income loss of approximately £75,000 due to cancelled community fundraising events this financial year.

That's around 10% of its budget.

Officials at the charity have welcome the government announcement of emergency funding, but 'are concerned we may still not be able to meet demand.'

OSARCC has already supported more than 150 individuals since the lockdown began.

Lisa Ward added: "We want to ensure that we can support survivors not just through the initial phase of the pandemic, but also in the longer term and so we're asking those in our community who feel able to donate to do so today.

"Either a regular or one-off donation will make all the difference, please just google 'OSARCC donate' to find us."


Government statistics highlight that 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their adult lifetime, and 31% of young people aged 18-24 report having experienced abuse in childhood.

Evidence suggests that during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • More people will experience rape and sexual abuse either by a partner or family member
  • Online abuse will continue to rise 
  • Those who have previously experienced abuse may see a rise in PSTD related symptoms such as flashbacks, panic attacks, anxiety etc, meaning their need for support is greater than before
  • Street based sexual harassment is getting worse
  • Young people experiencing child sexual abuse may not be able to access the support they need, with their normal support networks such as schools and youth groups are closed
  • That adult survivors experience abuse may not be safe to reach out for support and that this will create a later spike in demand.

(This is based on evidence collected nationally, and based on reports from those using OSARCC) 

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