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Help for Covid domestic violence victims


LOCKDOWN is supposed to protect us all from the virus and keep us safe.

But for millions of domestic violence victims lockdown has meant that they are trapped 24/7 with their abusers.

Now the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge is sending out the message that help is out there.

The Home Office campaign, promoted under the Twitter hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, encourages the public to show their solidarity for victims.

Refuge has reported a 70 per cent increase in calls to its helpline in a single day.

While a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25 per cent more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Previously those in violent relationships found refuge in going out to work or seeing friends.

What many do not realise is that according to official Government advice, lockdown does not apply to those who need to leave their home to escape domestic abuse.

Website gov.uk says: ‘If you feel at risk of abuse, there is help and support available to you, including the police, online support, helplines and refuges’.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Many victims are so downtrodden they do not even recognise that they are being abused.

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence but can include

coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

Signs that someone is suffering domestic abuse include being withdrawn, or being isolated from family and friends, having finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food or pay bills.

People can be told they are not allowed to leave the house or stopped from going to college or work.

Others have internet or social media use monitored and the perpetrator reading their texts, emails or letters.

People who believe that they are being abused are urged to contact Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Or visit nationaldahelpline.org.uk

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