With the country in lockdown, domestic abuse cases are expected to increase. The police and other organisations across Dorset are campaigning to raise awareness of domestic abuse, fearing an increase due to the impact of coronavirus.
The lockdown The new campaign is designed to highlight the key role control plays in all forms of abuse – physical, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological, and help victims find the help and support they need.
Superintendent Gemma Morris of Dorset Police, said: “Sadly, COVID-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse and the cycle of violence may intensify with people having to isolate themselves, and those who may be experiencing it may be unsure how to access support.”
Martyn Underhill, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, is responsible for delivering care for victims and works closely with a number of partnered organisations to provide help to those who need it. He said: “Sadly some children could be safer when they attend school regularly, as teachers are able to spot signs that something might be wrong at home and report this to the authorities.
“I want to reassure victims that despite the current uncertainty, support is still available for them and they don’t need to wait for lockdown or self-isolation to end before they get help.
Remember, domestic abuse doesn’t just mean violent – it also includes the new offences or coercive and controlling behaviour in which perpetrators psychologically manipulate their victims. If you’re experiencing any form of abuse you do not have to put up with it, and even if you don’t want to report it to the police there is a wide range of support available to you, such as the Victim Support Live Chat Service.”
Ask for help
If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 999. If it’s not an emergency but you want to report a crime, you can do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 101, using the 101 webchat service, or using the online crime report form, both accessible from the Dorset Police website.
There are also a range of organisations and services you can reach out to:
- You First – 0800 032 5204 or visit their website for more information.
- Poole Outreach – 01202 710777 (24 hours).
- Bournemouth Outreach – 01202 547641 (24 hours) or email.
- Victim Support – 0300 3030 163 (9am-6.30pm Mon-Fri) or 24-hour live chat. You can call out of hours for free on 08081 689111 or ask for help using their website.
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (24 hours) or message via their website.
- Safe Lives – provides information and advice via their website for anyone experiencing abuse.
- Women’s Aid – their website offers advice, as well as an instant messaging service and email support.
- You can also report abuse or other crimes anonymously via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or through the website.
If you are worried you might be hurting someone else
You can seek help if you think you might be harming someone else. Contact Refuge on 0808 802 4040, or visit their website for more information.