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 Help for domestic abuse victims in lockdown

 09/04/2020

This Easter will be very different with families trying to stay safe at home in these unprecedented times.

But for some, home is not a safe place, even without the threat of Coronavirus.
The stay at home order will cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse and if this is you, we want you to know you are not alone and we are still here to help.
 
Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses someone is under.
 
It can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial and affects one in four women and one in six men during their lifetime.
 
If you feel you are at risk of abuse or you are worried that someone you know is experiencing abuse, please remember that there is help and support available and services are open as usual.
 
As a force, we continue to help victims as normal and will be responding to 999 and 101 calls from victims 24/7.
 
If you can’t speak then you should use the silent solutions service by dialling 999 and press 5 5.
 
If you find yourself at an immediate risk of domestic abuse the message is clear - get out of the house and call 999.
 
Superintendent Dave Ashton, of Durham Constabulary’s Safeguarding Unit, said: “Domestic abuse is not acceptable at any time and we want victims to know that we are still here and ready to help.
 
“We know the lockdown restrictions will be causing many victims to worry, especially over a bank holiday weekend, but we cannot stress enough the importance of calling 999 or reaching out to other agencies to seek help – domestic abuse is not something you have to tolerate.”
 
We are also teaming up with our partner agencies to remind people of the many organisations and sources of extra help and support out there for both victims and perpetrators who want to change their behaviour.
 
Harbour Support Services provide dedicated, specialist support to residents of County Durham and Darlington affected by domestic abuse.
 
This includes adult victims, children and young people and perpetrators of abuse.  Anyone can make a self-referral or contact for advice and guidance.
 
Harbour is open 24/7. To contact them call 03000 202525 or email clientservice@myharbour.org.uk
 
Steve White, Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “At this unsettling time we need to reassure victims that the support services available to them, are still fully operational. 
 
“We must also get the message out that this help exists.
 
“Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, male, female, old or young, in married and unmarried relationships and within family groups. 
 
“Sadly, this means that for many home isn’t their safe place, and we want people to know that they do not need to suffer, help is available.”
 
You can also find information on help and support as well as signposting for local women’s refuges and council services for County Durham at www.durham.gov.uk/domesticabuse and for Darlington at https://www.darlington.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/domestic-abuse/domestic-and-sexual-abuse-directory/
 
Crime can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or through www.crimestoppers-uk.org
 
Councillor Angela Surtees, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for social inclusion, said: “Across County Durham, partners at the council, police, health and voluntary sector and many others are all working together to tackle the issue of domestic abuse. 
 
"This is more important than ever; when we are told stay at home following government guidelines we must also recognise that home is not always a safe haven for some.
 
Only by working together can we ensure people have access to 24 hour advice and support to allow them to break away from the cycle of abuse – domestic abuse services are open – please help us share that message.”
 
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Cabinet member for stronger communities at Darlington Borough Council, said: “This is such an important message and we urge people to share the numbers for these 24/7 support services far and wide.
 
“No-one should feel unsafe in their own home and we would encourage anyone at risk to ask for help when possible, there is support there for you.”