FEARS of an increase in domestic violence abuse during the lockdown has prompted a message of support from council chiefs.
While families have to spend more 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 it means they spend an extended period of time with their abuser.
Stratford District Council is urging people not to be afarid to call for help.
The Domestic Abuse support service ‘Refuge’ and helpline remain open to provide information and support on 0800 408 1552 or in an emergency victims should 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 need not just be physical. It can also take the form of psychological, emotional, financial and online harm too.
And anyone who is aware of someone suffering domestic abuse is also urged to report their concerns.
District community spokeswoman Coun Sarah Whalley-Hoggins said: “At this difficult time it is important that everyone knows that there is a huge amount of support available to those who find themselves victims of domestic abuse.
“Domestic abuse is never acceptable in any circumstance but it is perhaps even more terrifying for victims when they are living in such close proximity to the perpetrators. Please be assured that victims of domestic abuse are an absolute priority for the police and support agencies.”