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Derbyshire charity concerned domestic abuse cases could surge due to self-isolation

A Derbyshire charity fears that the Covid-19 pandemic could be the “perfect storm” for domestic abuse, due to widespread isolation.

Crossroads Derbyshire is a charity which supports domestic abuse victims across the Dales and High Peak and is in partnership with others to cover the whole county.

It fears that with many people in self-isolation due to Covid-19, domestic abuse has the perfect environment in which to surge.

The charity says that those suffering domestic abuse may find themselves trapped and unable to call for help until the pandemic and self-isolation protocols are over and they can escape their abuser.

Either that or victims will have to forego public health measures advising isolation in order to seek help.

Vicky Bee has worked for Crossroads since 2015 overseeing its fundraising operations and is its incoming chief executive.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that domestic abuse includes adults at risk from partners, children at risk from their parents or carers and also parents and carers at risk from violent children – which she says is drastically underreported.

Ms Bee said: “It is a worrying situation and we suspect there will be a surge in domestic abuse due to so many self-isolating.

“It is almost the perfect situation for an abuser, they can just say the other person is self-isolating and keep them indoors.

“We know that this situation could also see all forms of stress escalate, which can lead to abuse, such as financial difficulties and the stressful nature of the pandemic itself.

“We are likely to see an increase in abuse. What we may see is actually a dip now and then lots of people coming forward after all of this is over, when they are actually able to get away from the abuse.

“We want people to know that we are always here for you, you can make contact, we are still open and here to help, you are not bothering us.

“It is really hard to see how the pandemic will play out but it is the perfect storm for domestic abuse.”

Crossroads Derbyshire runs a refuge for women aged 16 to 24 – and their children – if they need to escape domestic abuse, or forced marriages and even gang behaviour.

The charity has helped 100 women with this refuge since 2013 – which contains five en-suite rooms.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse or know someone who is, tel: 08000 198 668 and you’ll get help from someone close by.

You can also email the support line giving a number you can be contacted safely at derbyshiredahelpline@actionorg.uk

If you’re deaf or hearing impaired, text the Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Support Line on 07557 800313. Emergency SMS – text: 999.

For the National Domestic Violence 24-hour help line tel: 0808 2000 247.

Derbyshire police said on Twitter yesterday: “Following government guidelines many are at home but for some the home is not a safe place for them to be.

“The Derbyshire Police Public Protection Hub are still at work supporting victims of domestic abuse.

“No-one should have to live with domestic abuse.”

Non-emergencies can be reported to the police via Facebook or Twitter, including the 101 service – if there is a threat of harm call 999.

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