Changes and continuities in police responses to domestic abuse in England and Wales during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’

Sandra Walklate, Barry Godfrey, Jane Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Covid-19 and the associated public health response directing people to stay at home and/or shelter in place generated acute awareness of, and concerns about, the likely impact on violence(s) against women across the globe. Initial reports from support services suggested that such violence increased, and that its impact was more complex. Early evidence of increased demands in relation to domestic abuse on policing was however less clear. This paper, based on findings from a larger project, offers an analysis of the initial responses to domestic abuse by the police and the courts in England and Wales during the initial pandemic lockdown of 2020. These findings are situated within wider debates concerned with the nature and impact of the current organisational structure of policing and suggests that whilst police forces responded both quickly and innovatively in order to maintain a focus on domestic abuse, their capacity to continue in this vein will be limited in the absence of wider structural and organisational change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Covid-19
  • Domestic abuse
  • policing

Cite this