DOMESTIC violence will surge amid the coronavirus lockdown ­— with victims trapped at home with violent partners, a Bolton refuge has warned.

Bolton charity Fortalice, which also runs a women’s refuge, is expecting a rise in the number of people of calling them for help as they spend more time under the same roof as abusive partners.

Countries around the world which have enforced lockdowns, including Italy and China, have seen a growth in domestic abuse reports.

Fortalice chief executive Gill Smallwood said: “The number of reports we are getting is very steady at the minute but I have no doubt they will go up.

“We are in the very early stages but we will start to see a rise.

“I do anticipate there will be an increase over the next few weeks

“I am concerned that people from the community won’t be able to come to the centre as we are a lifeline for them.

“They will be stuck at home with a perpetrator who will isolate victims even more and a bigger concern we have is how it will affect their children.”

The Bolton News:

Fortalice chief executive Gill Smallwood

Despite the lack of personal contact the charity can have with victims at the moment, they are still taking calls, available for online chats and can be accessed through the app Zoom.

They are still receiving referrals for counselling from GPs as well, which are being handled on the phone.

Gill, who said it may be difficult for people to report incidents due to Government rules, is also calling for residents to be alert to incidents of domestic abuse which appears to be taking place around them.

She said: “I think neighbours need to be vigilant and if they are concerned ring the police.

“We are clear that if it is a crisis ring 999.

“We are there for help and to support victims.”

Last week Greater Manchester deputy mayor for policing and crime Beverley Hughes said plans are in place to prepare for an increase in domestic abuse.

The Bolton News:

Baroness Beverley Hughes. Picture: Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Baroness Hughes said: “The potential for tension to arise in the home, in a domestic situation, as a result of what we’re asking people to cope with in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase.

“And therefore we would be right to think about how this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents that we’re called to. We are preparing for that.”

To contact Fortalice’s 24-hour support line phone 01204 365677 or visit for more information and to access the online chat facility.