Direct message to those affected by domestic abuse
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Cleveland Police wants to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that we continue to make them a priority and understand the unique fears they may have during these unprecedented times
The Force – in partnership with the agencies and charities it works alongside to support victims and their families – recognises that for many people in our area social distancing and self-isolation will increase the difficulties they face in their daily life.
Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “I’ve already made clear that protecting victims of domestic abuse is my priority and this will continue.
“We recognise that many people are fearful that the fight against the COVID-19 virus will mean they are spending more time with their abuser.
“Worries about employment and health concerns will also help to create a more pressurised environment at home, which may make many people even more fearful for their safety.
“I want to reassure those people that we are still here to protect you. If you experience any form of abuse or violence we will assist.
“If leaving the house will keep you safer that is the right thing to do. If an officer speaks to you about this please have the confidence to tell them it’s because of domestic abuse and we are ready to help you.”
As the commissioner of victim services in Cleveland, Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has personally contacted every one of the domestic abuse agencies he funds to ensure they are able to continue supporting victims during the crisis.
He said: “Support services provide a lifeline to victims of domestic abuse, who can feel trapped, controlled and hunted by their abusers.
“I’m pleased that the selfless support workers who carry out this work were recently recognised as key workers and will be able to carry on providing vital services to those most in need. My office is committed to providing whatever support is necessary to ensure they can continue to operate the best they can, whilst adhering to Government advice of isolation and social distancing.
“My message to victims is that support services are still operating, virus or not. Please don’t hesitate to contact them, or the police, for help.”
To report abuse or violence call 101 and in an emergency call 999.
If you’ve called 999 but cannot speak you can cough or dial 55 once the call is connected and operators are trained to know this means you need assistance. Do not simply stay silent.
Cleveland Police support the Hollie Guard app (https://hollieguard.com/) which allows you to shake or tap your phone to alert a trusted contact that you need urgent help.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse please contact one of our excellent partners offering advice or practical support, see here https://www.cleveland.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support-helplines/
You can also visit the Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk or call Freephone 0808 2000 247.