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Coronavirus curbs ‘can make home seem like prison’ to abuse victims

PUBLISHED: 13:33 03 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 03 April 2020

Suffolk Constabulary said it was committed to the safety of victims and would deal with perpetrators robustly  Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Suffolk Constabulary said it was committed to the safety of victims and would deal with perpetrators robustly Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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Police have promised a proactive approach to helping victims of abuse affected by restrictions on movement aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Suffolk Constabulary is reassuring victims and survivors of domestic abuse that they are not alone during this challenging time as the country tackles coronavirus  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYSuffolk Constabulary is reassuring victims and survivors of domestic abuse that they are not alone during this challenging time as the country tackles coronavirus Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Lockdown conditions could create a pressure cooker environment as victims feel captive in their own homes, it has been warned.

Suffolk Constabulary said it was acutely aware that COVID-19 will have a serious impact on adults and children facing domestic abuse, with fears over jobs and money, school closures and other changes to day-to-day lives leading to a potential rise in cases.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the force was committed to the safety of victims and would deal with perpetrators robustly, adding: “We do not want you to suffer in silence. The current situation can make the home even more like a prison with an abuser. It may also be used as a means to exert further control.”

He said it was too early to identify a significant increase in domestic abuse, but that officers would monitor the situation closely and be as proactive with contacting potential victims as possible, adding: “We urge anybody who is currently experiencing domestic abuse to make contact in any way that is safe and works for them.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYDetective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

To perpetrators seeking support to prevent abusive behaviour, Det Ch Supt Bridger said the Respect phone line was also available.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Supporting victims and protecting the vulnerable is absolutely key in my role and I will play my part by continuing to support services to provide urgent aid to those that need it. I will also make sure that Suffolk Constabulary has the resources it needs to tackle this crime and protect those at risk.”

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or if the crime is in progress, call 999.

The Silent Solution enables 999 mobile callers who are too scared to speak to press 55 to confirm the call is an emergency.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The domestic violence disclosure scheme allows people to apply for police to check if a partner has a violent past.

The government has confirmed that victims are able to leave home to flee to refuges, but there have been calls for the country to adopt further emergency measures, like in France, where hotel rooms have been made available as refuges.

Meanwhile, courts are currently set up to hear only urgent matters, remotely or in person.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to violence, coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

These are some important numbers for anyone affected:

You may also want to watch:

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline provides guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247

Women’s Aid national domestic abuse helpline 0808 2000 247

Domestic Abuse Outreach Service 0800 977 5690

National Centre for Domestic Violence 0844 8044 999

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327

Broken Rainbow (advice regarding domestic abuse in the LGBT community) 0300 999 5428

Respect (offering advice for those who want to stop being violent and abusive) 0808 802 4040

Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre 01284 753085

The Ferns (sexual assault referral centre offering medical care and emotional support) 0300 123 5058

Alumah 07770 468698

Compassion 07597 337831

Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum 01502 572143 or 07906 245979

Leeway Domestic Violence and Abuse Services 0300 561 0077

PHOEBE Centre 01473 231566

Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care 0300 303 3706/nsvictimcare@victimsupport.org.uk

Anglia Care Trust freephone advice line for victims 0800 9775690

If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship, call Childline on 0800 1111


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