Warning - increases in domestic violence in lockdown
Published on Friday, 24th April 2020
COVID-19 Lockdown may make victims more frightened to speak out or unable to access support
North Warwickshire Borough Council is warning of increases in domestic violence abuse during the coronavirus lockdown.
While families are requested to spend time indoors together, the lockdown may make victims more frightened to speak out or unable to access support, with a greater risk of suffering abuse, especially if this means they spend an extended period of time with the perpetrator of the abuse.
The Council is urging people to call for help if they need it.
The Domestic Abuse support service 'Refuge' and helpline remain open to provide information and support on 0800 408 1552 or in an emergency please call 999.
Social distancing rules do not prevent someone who is experiencing or at risk of being abused from leaving their home and seeking help, particularly if they are in danger. Refuges remain open and police will provide support to all individuals being abused.
Abuse needn't just be physical; it can also take the form of psychological, emotional, financial and online harm too. As we all come together to help our local communities, you can play a small part in protecting family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, who you may suspect are suffering at the hands of an abuser.
If you are suffering abuse:
Remember you are not alone. Domestic abuse is never ok and you do not need to suffer in silence. Help is at hand and support services continue to be available across Warwickshire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are in immediate danger:
Always call 999 in an emergency; if you are unable to speak on the phone, there are systems in place to connect you to the right service:
- If you are calling from a mobile phone, in danger and cannot speak, you can use the 'Silent Solution' system. After dialling 999 wait for the operator and press 55 and the operator will transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. The police call handler will then ask you a series of simple yes/no questions. If you're still not able to speak, listen to the instructions you are given so the handler can assess your call and send help. Please note that calling from a mobile does not allow the police to track your location.
- If you are calling from a landline, pressing '55' will not work. If you can't speak you should stay on the line and the operator will connect you to a police call handler. If you need to put the phone down, the line will stay open for 45 seconds. If you pick it up again during this time and the operator is concerned for your safety, they will put you through to a police call handler. Calling 999 from a landline means the police may be able to retrieve information on your location to send help.
If you are a concerned relative, friend or neighbour, Refuge, the Warwickshire Domestic Violence Service has pulled together a list of tips and advice to look out for, if you are suspicious that a neighbour or loved one is suffering from domestic abuse.
- Engage with the victim and ask them to reach out to supportive family and friends who can help practically (eg food, childcare) as well as in coping with stress.
- Together develop a safety plan for them and their children's safety in case the violence gets worse. This includes keeping numbers of neighbours, friends and family who can be called on for help; have accessible important documents, money, a few personal things ready to go if they need to leave immediately; make a plan how they can exit the house and access help (please go to www.refuge.org.uk for a list of partners who can help).
- Help them to keep information about violence against women hotlines, social workers, child protection or nearest police station, shelters or support services that are accessible.
- For local information search Refuge Warwickshire.
Always help them to be discrete so that their partner or family members do not find out and they can keep safe.
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