The Isle of Wight Council is also reassuring residents that services are continuing to provide support online and over the telephone to those in need.
While the advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or is experiencing domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police and services will provide support to all individuals who are being abused — whether physically, emotionally or otherwise.
Teresa Brimble-Brennan, the council’s domestic abuse project officer, said:
“We know that Covid-19 will have a serious impact on the lives of women, men and children who are experiencing domestic abuse.
“Health concerns, financial pressures, school closures and being isolated from our support networks are likely to result in an increase in domestic abuse incidents.
“If you’re already living with domestic abuse, then the restrictions put in place while the government tries to slow the spread of the virus have probably left you fearful of being isolated in the house with your abuser.
“You may not be able to see the friends and family who usually support you, and some of the places where you go for help or treatment may be closed or offering a reduced service.
“However, Island services are continuing to provide support to those in need during the Covid-19 crisis and, please remember, you can still call 999 if you or someone else is in danger.”
An estimated 1.6 million women and 786,000 men experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in 2018/2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. And in 2018, 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides, according to data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK.
The government has acknowledged the measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19 can cause anxiety but said domestic violence was unacceptable in any situation.
Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart, said:
“Tackling domestic abuse is an issue we take extremely seriously and are all too aware that vulnerable people may be affected due to the impact of the Covid-19 response.
“Together with the cooperation of other public services, we particularly urge people to look out for neighbours they either see or hear showing any signs of domestic abuse — either physical or behavioural — at this worrying time.
“This could include bruises, regular shouting, arguments or signs of controlling behaviour.”
For more information on the Island’s domestic abuse support services visit https://tinyurl.com/iowdaservices.
Where to get help:
You First, the Island’s domestic violence and abuse support provider, has contingency plans in place to keep its services running throughout the crisis and welcome contact from anyone experiencing abuse who may need support. Call them on 0800 234 6266 or email: [email protected]
The Hampton Trust team are aware of the increased risks for victims who are isolated with perpetrators. If you wish to speak to someone directly regarding any assistance with perpetrators, dial 02380 009898 where a dedicated staff member will be available to take your call. Alternatively, call their front door services on 0800 234 6266 or via email: [email protected]
WightDash are working remotely and continuing to provide a service via telephone. The normal timetable for WOW has been temporarily suspended. Their landlines, (01983) 825981 and (01983) 300423), will be diverted out when the centre is not staffed so that messages can be left and will be responded to as soon as possible.
If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship, then call Childline on 0800 11 11.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger or at serious risk of harm, you are advised to call the police on 999. If it is not safe to speak #MakeYourselfHeard