Charities fear rise in domestic abuse during second national lockdown

Lorraine Saunders, founder of Dawn's New Horizon on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston which offers support an

Lorraine Saunders, founder of Dawn's New Horizon on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston which offers support and advice to victims of domestic abuse. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Domestic abuse victims will be able to seek help in a charity shop which will transform into a support hub during the second national lockdown.

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, the charity providing support to those experiencing domest

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, the charity providing support to those experiencing domestic abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Dawn’s New Horizon base on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston, will be open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9am-3pm, as a safe space for people to go after its retail section was forced to close due to restrictions.

Charity founder, Lorraine Saunders, said: “When it was announced we had to go into lockdown again I broke down. During lockdown domestic abuse victims will be more fearful for their lives than they were before. It is heartbreaking.”

She was hopeful the situation would be better for domestic abuse victims, compared with the first lockdown, because more safe emergency accommodation was on offer.

Ms Saunders, from Sprowston, said the charity’s 24/7 helpline had received an influx of calls from men and women since lockdown restrictions were reintroduced.


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She said: “The most important thing is for victims to get out as soon as possible and call 999 or someone they trust. There are safe places for people to go to.”

As well as the support hub, Dawn’s New Horizon will run an online chat forum and give out food and clothing parcels for free to abuse victims.

MORE: ‘It’s like being locked up with a monster’: Boss of domestic violence centre sees calls for help double in lockdownMandy Proctor, chief executive of Norfolk-based domestic abuse charity Leeway, said: “The second national lockdown is likely to cause another spike in incidences of domestic abuse. It’s extremely difficult for those experiencing domestic abuse, as lockdown will mean that they are forced to stay inside. The second lockdown will cause many added pressures, particularly surrounding financial or job concerns, and this could also lead to an escalation in incidences of abuse, potentially increasing the risk of serious harm too.

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“It’s encouraging that many people have already come forward for support, but we know that there will be many more people out there that haven’t yet.”

From April 1–May 31, 2020, 1,004 people contacted the Leeway advice and support line compared with 251 for the same period in 2019.

For support contact Leeway on 0300 5610077 or email adviceandsupport@leewaynwa.org.uk, Dawn’s New Horizon on 07854 044680 or the Refuge national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000247.

Anyone in immediate danger should call 999 and if it is not safe for people to speak, press 55 after dialling 999 to indicate to the call handler they cannot talk.

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