Huge lockdown rise in calls to Norfolk domestic abuse charity

Domestic abuse. Picture posed by model. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Domestic abuse. Picture posed by model. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The leader of a charity which supports domestic abuse victims said they had a huge rise in calls last year and expects that trend to continue during the latest lockdown.

Leeway, which supports abuse victims across Norfolk, had 3,689 people contact its advice and support service between March 23 and August 31 last year compared to just 830 in the same period the previous year.

But with the current coronavirus lockdown set to continue, into March at least, bosses of the charity fear there will be even more people needing help.

Mandy Proctor, chief executive officer, said: “Throughout the lockdown measures that have been in place in 2020 and this year, we have seen an increase in the number of people contacting us for advice and support.

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

"There has been great uncertainty for many surrounding their jobs and finances, which has led to an escalation in incidences of abuse, potentially increasing the risk of serious harm too.

“We tend to see a spike in the number of people contacting us for advice and support after the festive period, but this year was higher than we would normally expect.

"The reintroduction of lockdown measures straight after Christmas will have had an impact on this, especially given it is unclear how long these measures will be in place for."

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Latest figures show that in the first full week of January last year, 90 people contacted Leeway for advice and support but in the first week of January this year, that had risen to 274 people.

That rise in calls follows another rise in calls to the charity between November last year and January this year when 2020 people sought help compared to 1041 the before.

Leeway has experienced an increase in the number of people contacting them via email or its Live Chat service and say its "encouraging" that people have come forward for support.

But Ms Proctor said there will still be many people experiencing domestic abuse that have not got in touch.

She said: "Our message for those people would be you are not alone and there is support available for you."

Victims have been reminded that if it is not safe to speak after calling 999 they should press 55 to indicate to the call handler that they cannot  talk.

To contact Leeway email adviceandsupport@leewaynwa.org.uk or call 0300 561 0077


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