A number of Russell-Cooke's family lawyers have signed up to the Green Phone Initiative set up by @OnlyMums and @OnlyDads to support victims of domestic abuse during lockdown. The Green Phone initiative is supported by legal professionals who volunteer their time to give a free phone call to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse and would like some advice. Partners Hannah Minty and Hannah Field from the family team have signed up.

Partner Hannah Minty and associate Evie Smyth have created a new Domestic Abuse hub on the firm's website. This aims to bring together a range of useful and easy-to-navigate information, for reference during the pandemic and beyond. Guidance includes using the silent solution during an emergency, accessing funding, housing or free support, and crucially setting out the legal options available for victims. Also amongst the resources linked to in the hub are detailed fact sheets on how to apply for civil injunctions in the family court, which may offer protection from domestic abuse, and links to the court forms, template witness statements and drafting guidance. All pages have a Quick Exit button allowing anyone viewing the page to escape to a neutral website page in one click, deleting the relevant browsing history.

It has been well reported that since the lockdown in March, there has been an alarming rise in reported domestic abuse incidents, with the UK's largest domestic abuse charity recording a 150% surge in website visits and a 25% increase in calls to their helpline. Victims are extremely vulnerable, increasingly isolated in their homes and with fewer opportunities to escape abuse. It is more important than ever that victims and their loved ones know where to access help.

Partner Hannah Minty said:  I am mindful that for some, lockdown led to increased tensions at home and a surge in reported cases of domestic abuse.  As we experience a second lockdown it is vital that support is provided to help those families suffering from domestic abuse. I am proud to be part of a network of national lawyers participating in the Green Phone Initiative, offering support to anyone concerned about domestic abuse during this difficult time. We also hope that Russell-Cooke’s new domestic abuse hub will prove a useful resource for those needing help and information.”

The Domestic Abuse Hub can be accessed here and is being publicised via social media channels.