THE number of domestic abuse victims making contact with specialist support services has increased following the launch of an awareness campaign last month.
The #YouAreNotAlone campaign, funded by the Staffordshire Commissioner, driven by Staffordshire Police and supported by victims’ services, depicts the signs of abuse and signposts local services to reassure victims and perpetrators that services are still available during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Since the campaign’s launch on 21 April, there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of referrals into domestic abuse victim support providers, in comparison to the same four-week period last year*.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis said: “Domestic abuse can be utterly traumatic and while it is good news that more victims are coming forward for help, we know that the current restrictions may have left others feeling there is nowhere to turn.
“I’d like to reassure our communities that there is still help and advice available online and over the phone, with organisations working hard to ensure they can still support you when you need it most.
“I’d also like to thank all the services for the way they’ve adapted to the challenges of Covid-19 to continue to support vulnerable people.”
Mickey Hemmings, New Era’s acting head of service, said: “Domestic abuse can be devastating for those involved, and those around them. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought extra challenges and pressures for lots of families and couples, some of which have no doubt accounted for the recent rise in the number of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent residents requesting support from New Era.
“Whilst this is naturally a cause for concern, we’re pleased that more local people are having the courage to seek the help they need, especially at this testing time.
“Our 24-hour confidential live webchat and helpline have made it easier for victims of domestic abuse to get in touch, especially if they live with their abuser. We’re also happy to take calls from anyone who may be worried about a friend or relative, and wants advice on how they can support them at this time.”
Local refuge providers, including Glow, Pathway and Staffordshire Women’s Aid, have been working hard since the beginning of ‘lockdown’ to ensure there is continued provision of safe accommodation across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire for individuals and families escaping domestic abuse, as well as a wide range of specialist one-to-one and group support services.
Their services have been adapted so they can still deliver expert advice and support despite social distancing measures. This also includes new ways of getting in touch, and those who need help are encouraged to contact them.
Staffordshire Police continues to respond to domestic abuse incidents.
Head of safeguarding for the force, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Cooke said: “We understand that the lockdown measures can be particularly difficult for those living with domestic abuse. We’re aware that it may also be more of a challenge for victims to find the opportunity to call the police for help.
“We work closely with our partners to understand how lockdown is changing the nature of domestic abuse and the #YouAreNotAloneCampaign is aimed at encouraging people to report domestic abuse and raise awareness of the services that are available to offer support.
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to respond as the public would expect us to and would encourage anyone requiring police assistance to make a report. We will ensure necessary safeguards are put in place.”
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999. If you are in danger but cannot talk, you should still dial 999 and then press 55 and hold the line.
For non-emergency reports, contact 101 through private message on Facebook or Twitter or by dialling 101.
Support for victims can range from one-to-one support to legal advice and specialist help in securing safe accommodation.
Local services continue to be available for perpetrators wanting to change abusive behaviour with specialist support available to all those in need.
|Domestic Abuse Support|
|Remember, you are not to blame for what is happening. You are not alone, and above all, you do not have to suffer in silence.|
Domestic abuse can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
Staffordshire-wide and Warwickshire-wide support for victims and their families:
National support and out of hours:
Localised support for victims and their families (including safe accommodation):
Staffordshire-wide services for perpetrators wanting to change their behaviour:
|In an emergency, always dial 999|