DOMESTIC abuse incidents related to the coronavirus outbreak have already been seen, according to a police leader.

Greater Manchester's deputy mayor for policing and crime Baroness Beverley Hughes said on Wednesday there had been reports of abuse linked to the virus, which has seen the country put on lockdown, and the force was preparing for serious incidents.

Speaking at an online press conference following a meeting of the region's Covid-19 emergency committee, Baroness Hughes said: "I think we are beginning to see a rise in domestic abuse incidents. We anticipated this might happen in the very stressful circumstances for many families."

She later said the overall level of domestic abuse cases was as expected, but officers were classifying incidents believed to have a connection to Covid-19.

She said families were being asked to stay at home and many had significantly less money, or no income, as a result of restrictions put in place.

She added: "The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are called to.

"We are preparing for that. Some of those most serious incidents will be challenging to deal with, particularly if the victim needs to be moved to a refuge, but the police specialise in these kind of cases and the local partners, local authorities, they're working together really closely to prepare for that."

Baroness Hughes said there had also been a small rise in the number of hate crimes.

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told the Commons Justice Committee the country may see more cases of domestic abuse, as well as online crime and fraud during the outbreak.