Domestic Abuse during COVID-19
Many residents will be following the national advice around household isolation and social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This advice is in place to limit the spread of the virus and keep as many people as safe and well as possible.
We know that there are vulnerable people in our communities who will be more concerned than others about the prospect of staying at home for a number of reasons, including those who have been the victims of domestic abuse such as violence or coercive and controlling behaviour.
While all public services are adapting to new ways of working during this pandemic, our message to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse is clear: You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence - we will still be here for you, no matter what.
Merseyside Police, local authorities and providers of domestic abuse support across Merseyside will continue working together to maintain essential services and contacts for anyone affected by domestic abuse during the weeks and months to come.
Support will still be available by telephone, text message or online services.
Sefton Council has joined partner organisations across the Liverpool City Region to launch a new domestic abuse campaign telling anyone experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic: #YouAreNotAlone.
Led by Merseyside Resilience Forum and Wirral Council, the multi-agency initiative aims to raise awareness, remind those experiencing abuse that support is still available, and encourage victims to report incidents to the police.
Both locally and nationally, there is growing concern about the threat of domestic abuse due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Home Office recently launched the #YouAreNotAlone hashtag across the UK – a move that was welcomed by domestic abuse charities and campaigners.
Adopting the Home Office Hashtag, the new Merseyside-wide campaign takes urgent action to spotlight the issue at a local level; working alongside a range of support agencies who offer specialist domestic abuse advice all year round.
It highlights were anyone worried about abuse can get help on a range of issues, including:
- creating a personal safety plan
- how to report concerns about a friend or neighbour
- where local businesses can get guidance on supporting staff when abuse is suspected
DCC Serena Kennedy, Chair of Merseyside Resilience Forum, said: “Sadly, we know that staying home isn’t a safe option for everyone. For those experiencing abuse, getting out of the house to buy essentials can be a way of escape. But while everyone’s daily movements are restricted more than usual, perpetrators could be using the lockdown to further isolate, restrict, and control their victims.
“Local agencies offering advice on this issue are appreciated more than ever. Working together, we hope to reach as many people as possible to make domestic abuse one less thing to fear at this already uncertain time."
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “It is vital that we let people who are silently suffering or concerned for their safety during this period of isolation and social-distancing know they are not alone and that people in their communities care about them and are looking out for them.
“I fully support this coordinated campaign to make sure that people have as much access as possible to ways of finding help, support and advice and would urge people across Sefton get behind the #YouAreNotAlone campaign.”
Merseyside Resilience Forum includes Merseyside Police, the NHS, and authorities from across the Liverpool City Region.
Useful information for anyone worried about domestic abuse:
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 2000 247
- Wirral Women and Children’s Aid: 0151 643 9766
- Involve North West: 0151 644 1100 and press 7
- In an emergency, always call 999
Who to contact
If you, your child or anyone in the family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, CALL 999
If you are a Sefton resident and are experiencing domestic abuse or believe someone you know is please contact:
Sefton IDVA service on 0151 934 5142
Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid 0151 922 8606 www.swaca.com
For more information and local services visit:
victimcaremerseyside.org (directory of services)
Further support can also be found at these national agencies:
Women’s Aid | womensaid.org.uk | https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)
Worst Kept Secret Helpline: 0800 028 3398
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123