What to do if you're suffering domestic abuse in Northumberland during lockdown

You are not alone – that’s the message from Northumberland County Council to anyone who feels at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown.

Monday, 20th April 2020, 1:50 pm
Picture c/o PA

The order for people to stay at home has raised concerns about adults and children being confined to their houses with abusive or controlling partners.

Now, the council has underlined that same message for anyone who is experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coun Veronica Jones, the cabinet member for adult wellbeing and health, said: “We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone, but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse.

“We want those people to know that there is still help available, and although this support may be different from before, the council will still strive to provide someone to speak with either over the phone or online.”

The council is encouraging residents to report abuse if they see or hear it. If a member of the public suspects someone is at risk of domestic abuse, they are advised not to approach the perpetrator about their behaviour, as this could escalate the abuse and put them in further danger.

If you are in danger but unable to talk on the phone, dial 999 followed by 55, and you will receive police assistance without having to speak.

Advice and support is available in Northumberland by calling 01670 820199 or visiting https://www.placesforpeople.co.uk/supported-living/domestic-abuse

It comes as the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has issued a new report urging everyone to watch out for signs of domestic abuse among their neighbours in the wake of a sharp rise in attacks during lockdown.

The CSJ found that calls to the National Abuse Hotline in the UK soared by 65% last month and by 25% in a five-day period last week, Age UK has reported an 88% increase in calls to its advice line, and the Refuge helpline for victims saw a 120% increase in one day.

Cristina Odone, head of family policy at the CSJ and author of the report, said: “Lockdown has shown us how important our social fabric is; we rely on the kindness of strangers, but also on their watchfulness.

“This is an extraordinary time, that calls for extraordinary measures. At the risk of being accused of instigating a snooper’s charter, I would call on everyone to be on red alert – spot the victims and blow the whistle on their abuser.

“Victims should know they are not alone – the rest of us have their back.”

Meanwhile, Northumbria Police is sending out the message that it is there for children or young people suffering abuse at home.

Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson said: “School is so often a safe place for those who suffer or witness abuse in the home. It provides much-needed respite and offers the opportunity to seek help from trusted teachers and friends.

“Restrictions in place means this security has been taken away increasing the potential for people to feel alone, scared and cut-off from vital support networks – that’s why it is vitally important that children and young people who are concerned about their safety speak to the police or a charity helpline.

“We are also urging those who are worried about a child to come forward with information.”

To contact police if it’s not urgent, you can ring 101 or make a report online via the Northumbria Police website. In an emergency and if someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.

However, if youngsters do not want to talk to the police or a social worker, they can also call Childline on 0800 1111.

Members of the public can also contact the NSPCC by text message on 88858 to report concerns about a child. This service is free and anonymous.

Childline has today (Friday, April 17) revealed it has seen large numbers of children getting in touch due to coronavirus, carrying out more than 1,700 counselling sessions about the issue in the last three weeks alone, bringing the new total to more than 2,200 since the end of January.

Despite Childline having to close the night service for the first time and having a 30% drop in volunteer hours, due to counsellors having to self-isolate, it’s battling to still be there for children across the UK.

The NSPCC, which runs Childline, has launched and emergency appeal – We’re still here for children – urging the public to visit its website and donate £10 so the charity can continue to answer calls.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you