Article on domestic abuse and covid19, published in Family Matters, the Family Court magazine.

by Tony Melnikoff

One thing that was very noticeable during my time on both the Criminal and Family Benches was how DA always spiked whenever families were “locked together”. And not just physical abuse, but also emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, and coercive and controlling behaviour. This was especially prevalent during holiday periods, with Christmas / Boxing Day being a prime example. It was therefore sad, but perhaps inevitable, that we would see a surge in such cases following the lockdown on 23rd March.

The risk was acknowledged eventually by the Government. On 14th April they issued a document Covid19: Support for victims of Domestic Abuse. In it they stated that:

“The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.”

On 22nd April The Department of Health & Social Care issued a safeguarding document, “Aimed at professionals and organisations who are involved in supporting and safeguarding adults and children.” The document admitted that “Emerging evidence from statutory and voluntary agencies across the UK has emphasised the increased risks of domestic abuse, with Refuge reporting a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests since the lockdown began in March 2020.”     Then on 27th April the Home Affairs Select Committee issued a report calling for “Urgent action … to protect victims and prevent perpetrators from exploiting the lockdown to increase abuse …  We are calling for new emergency funding for support services,” the report continued,  “new ways for victims to access help through supermarkets and pharmacies, outreach visits to known vulnerable households, support for children, and a new guarantee of safe housing for anyone needing to leave their home during lockdown because of abuse … The emotional, physical and social scars from domestic abuse can last a lifetime.”        While on 2nd June, The Independent newspaper reported that: “Calls to the UK’s national domestic abuse helpline have risen by 66 per cent and visits to its website have surged by 950 per cent since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. Frontline service providers told The Independent they were bracing for a surge in victims coming forward as the UK starts to ease restrictions.”

My questions therefore are:

What action did you take to try to identify victims of DA within your communities?

What help and assistance did you give to those identified as victims?

Where applicable, what help did you give to perpetrators to attempt to guide them away from their abusive path?

Should further lockdowns be necessary what might you do differently?

Keep safe everybody.

Best regards


Download a pdf of the publication

Beirut explosion a BMFF expression of Sympathy and Condolences

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and to the injured suffering from the tragedy of the Beirut explosion.

We express our deep condolences, and solidarity to all those who have local families and, in the UK, caught up in this tragedy, and express anxiety for those who have also lost their homes and livelihoods.

We salute all those helping to find, caring for and offering their homes to survivors and note the messages of support sent by the Queen, international governments, agencies, from countries bordering Lebanon, and faith organisations who have all offered immediate assistance in Lebanon’s time of need.

Signed jointly on Behalf of the BMFF Executive
Esmond Rosen President of Barnet Multi Faith Forum
Trevor Alexander Chair of the Barnet Multi faith Forum

Hendon Mosques reopens after lockdown

…it feel good to be back !! As one worshiper put it.

I am a trustee and a coordinator at Hendon Mosque. Let me put something into perspective under lockdown everyone has been waiting for the shops, restaurants, gyms and other places to open up. You can’t help but notice the queues outside  places like TK Max, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s etc and even some stores inside Brent Cross Shopping centre.
However, but maybe Very few will have noticed the somewhat relatively low key smaller queues that have began forming outside our places of worship, especially outside our Hendon Mosque. For those who religion or faith is not retail I can’t begin to explain to you all the look of joy on people’s faces attending our mosque.
For us as volunteers and custodians of the mosque, we have never felt so much happiness in opening our doors wide for the first time since lockdown started. There has  been a huge amount of behind- the-scene effort & work and thinking that has been needed to take place before we reached the decision of opening our doors. But I can tell you this much …it has been well worth it !!!

I think when we closed we never thought it would be so long before we would have to reopen. And we never thought that we would have to change so radically our whole approach.

There is immense sadness as well in opening our doors as we are missing congregation members who are no longer with us in this world today as a result of Covid.

Unlike some other faiths our mosques are predominantly about group worship/prayers. We have had to manage this very very carefully and we have had to introduce a booking system in place for our large congregational prayers. Of course like anything new when first been introduced we too have teething problems we have technical hitches and we have human resource issues. But we’ve managed!!
We have managed the challenges as well as the expectation from the community to deliver and we will continue to resume congregational prayers in the safest possible environment in which we can do this.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very heartfelt warm Eid Mubarak celebration message and assure you all that as trustees we take our responsibilities very seriously of the safety of everyone who comes and walks through our doors.

Eid Mubarak

Nayim Kadri

Wiley Statement by Barnet Multi Faith Forum (BMFForum)

We, Barnet Multi Faith Forum (BMFForum) condemn the antisemitic, provocative, and dangerous, insults against the Jewish community by the rap performer Wiley which were totally unacceptable and irresponsible.

We affirm the dignity of members of all faiths to stand together as we did in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, to condemn this and any other hate filled views that target one community or faith group, which seek to divide us.

We expect social media platforms to act swiftly and decisively to remove such hateful material whenever it occurs.

We are living in volatile and challenging times in which emotions run high and there are those who are purposely fuelling the fire.

The mission of the BMFForum is to promote dialogue, knowledge, and education, by organising events and activities that lead to a better understanding of the complexities around religion, faith, and belief, this builds upon mutual respect, trust, and confidences.

There is therefore more need than ever for our Forum and our other partners, to maintain our objective of supporting one another, as neighbours and communities, promoting our messages of zero tolerance to hate.

Together we affirm respect for our Jewish community here in Barnet. Together we can build respect for all in Barnet.

For social media: #wearenotdivided #zerotoleranceofhate

Esmond Rosen
President of BMFForum

For and on behalf of the BMFForum Executive

Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme Opens for Bids

Government funding to improve the physical security of places of worship in England and Wales.

The Home Office is providing a total of £3.2 million in grant funding this year to help places of worship who feel they are vulnerable to hate crime to install more secure gates, locks, alarms and CCTV in order to deter and prevent hate crime attacks.

Places of worship in England and Wales, including churches, gurdwaras, mosques, temples and associated faith community centres, can apply for grants of up to £56,000 per place of worship.

The funding can cover the costs of up to three security measures from the following list:

  • CCTV (fixed cameras, not pan-tilt cameras)
  • Fencing and/or railings (no more than 2.1m high)
  • Manually operated pedestrian and vehicle gates
  • Automated vehicle gates
  • Security doors and locks
  • Reinforcing single glazed windows (with anti-shatter film or bars/grilles)
  • Intruder alarms
  • Access control (fob or keypad)
  • Video intercom systems
  • Lighting (building mounted)

The funding only covers the provision and installation of these security measures. It does not cover other associated costs such as licensing and planning permission, or ongoing costs such as charges for annual service, maintenance and monitoring.

The deadline for applications is 23:59 on 9 August 2020.

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Esotec Limited
    Home Office
    Southmead Industrial Estate
    Unit 13 Moorbrook Park
    OX11 7HP

See the full Govt website information here

Govt New taskforce developing plan to reopen places of worship

Faith leaders and government have agreed to develop a plan to enable the phased and safe reopening of places of worship when the evidence shows it is the right time to do so, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed today (15 May 2020).

This follows the first virtual meeting of the new Places of Worship Taskforce which includes leaders and representatives from all the major faiths.

Read more on the Govt website