Posted: Tue 7th Apr 2020

“Don’t suffer in silence” – North Wales Police reach out to victims of domestic abuse during lockdown

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 7th, 2020

North Wales Police are reaching out to victims of domestic abuse and issuing a reminder that they are on hand to help and deal robustly with perpetrators regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has revealed that calls and online requests for support to the service have increased 25 per cent since the lockdown was introduced at the end of March.

But whilst there is an expectation around the world that domestic violence will rise as the pressures imposed on relationships mount during the lockdowns, there is also a real concern that some victims will be unable to reach out for support due to not having the chance, or perhaps the confidence, to report as they are spending so much time with their abuser.

As part of an on-going effort to reassure victims, and to remind abusers that North Wales Police will continue to deal with this crime, we are seeking to distribute cards and leaflets to supermarkets and food banks for them to be included in online and click and collect orders.

These will highlight helplines and information on how to get support. If you would like to become involved and help victims to get this important information, then please contact your local neighbourhood policing team.

The force will also be completing leaflet drops to let the public know that we are taking pro-active steps to engage with them and to encourage them to come forward if they know of someone, or if they themselves, are being abused.

“This is a difficult and stressful time for everyone, especially for victims of domestic abuse, who are forced to spend more time with their abusers,” said PC Mike Taggart, strategic domestic abuse officer.

There is never an excuse for domestic abuse of any kind; whether it’s violence or controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour.

Our message to victims is clear. Don’t suffer in silence. We are here for you and our specially trained officers will support you throughout and deal firmly with offenders.

If you are being told that police won’t be able to, or are too busy to support you, this is not true, we are here for you as we have always been.”

Our message to abusers is also clear. We will not tolerate domestic abuse and we will take appropriate action – we are still operating as normal, we will respond to calls of domestic abuse and we will still enter your property if required.

Covid-19 will not deter us from protecting victims of domestic abuse.

If you are concerned about your behaviour, there are also agencies that can help you to overcome this.

There are a wide range of bodies that can offer advice and support and I would encourage anyone concerned with this issue to consult professionals.

In an emergency we would ask victims to use the Silent Solution- when calling 999 you can press 55 when prompted to alert the call handler that you are in a genuine emergency.”

Shadow Minister for Justice Leanne Wood AM said,

“I’m glad the issue of increased domestic abuse during lockdown is finally on the political agenda, getting the attention that reflects the severity of the issue.

The increase of domestic abuse cases during lockdown is a pandemic within a pandemic as people are forced to spend more time indoors with perpetrators, escalating the threat of violence and abuse towards them and further restricting their freedoms.

In the absence of face-to-face domestic abuse services, we need to think about other ways in which we can protect survivors and ensure they know that help is available and that they’re not alone.

In Spain, where people are fined if they are seen outdoors, the government has told those experiencing domestic abuse they will not be fined if they leave home to report abuse. Italy have launched an app that will allow those needing it to ask for help from the police without having to make a phone call.

The Italian Equality Ministry said it had seen a 270% increase in consultations since the lockdown began. In France, people can use a code-word to ask for help when visiting pharmacies or supermarkets.

There are great examples of best practice from other countries we can do here in Wales. We know from other countries that the risk of domestic abuse increases during these lockdowns and so it is our duty to predict and protect those most at risk of harm during these difficult times.”

Below is a link to the North Wales Police website and a list of agencies which offer support and advice and details of other places where support is available.

North Wales Police: https://www.north-wales.police.uk/advice-and-support/stay-safe/domestic-abuse

Hourglass UK Helpline: 0808 808 8141 (freephone) Website: www.wearehourglass.org    

Age Cymru Advice Free and confidential information and advice on matters affecting the over 50s in Wales.

Tel: 08000 223 444 E-mail: [email protected]

Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline: 0300 222 1122 Website: www.alzheimers.org.uk

www.careandrepair.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureaus (CABs)

National network of free advice centres offering confidential and independent advice, face to face or by telephone.

Tel: 03444 77 20 20

Details of your nearest CAB can be found at: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Live Fear Free Helpline: A free helpline offering advice and support to those affected by violence against women, domestic abuse, or sexual violence against men and women. Tel: 0808 8010 800 (lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the call will not show on your bill) Website: https://livefearfree.gov.wales/

There is also a live chat option on the website, if this is safer for you.

Men’s Advice Line: A confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Tel: 0808 801 0327 Website: www.mensadviceline.org.uk

Protect (previously called Public Concern at Work) is an independent ‘whistleblowing’ charity. They aim to protect society by encouraging people to whistleblow about serious wrongdoing in the workplace.

Advice Line: 020 3117 2520 Website: www.pcaw.org.uk

Samaritans

The Samaritans service provides emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.

Confidential Samaritans Helpline: 116 123

Concerned about your own or someone else’s behaviour?

If you – or someone you know – are abusive or violent towards a partner or family member you can get confidential help and support by calling 0808 802 4040 or emailing [email protected].

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