Domestic abuse victims urged to call charities for support during coronavirus outbreak
PUBLISHED: 15:12 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 17 March 2020
Domestic abuse victims are being encouraged to seek help through social media, loved ones and charities as measures to prevent coronavirus spread are increased.
The founder of Norwich-based community group Dawn’s New Horizon founded in 2012, which offers counselling, advice, emergency food and shelter to domestic abuse victims across Norfolk, has spoken out amid stark concerns more victims will be at risk due to social isolation.
Lorraine Saunders, a former domestic abuse victim, said: “It is a very worrying time at the moment. It is clear the virus will have an impact on vulnerable people.”
She urged people who were in abusive relationships to seek help and stay with loved ones where possible but if they were not able to do that they should call domestic abuse support services, access help online and through social media or call 999 if they are in danger.
Mrs Saunders, who set up the Dawn’s New Horizon charity shop and drop-in advice centre in Sprowston, eight years ago, added: “I’m hoping neighbours can listen out for things. If you do hear anything that is concerning they should call the police.”
MORE: People self-isolating must ask for help says Norfolk’s public health chief
A former domestic abuse survivor, from Norwich, said: “The coronavirus outbreak It is going to cause a lot more pressure, upset and concern for people who are potential victims. If people are self-isolating they are going to be trapped with their perpetrator.”
She encouraged people to reach out to charities, friends and family and use social media and added: “Don’t give up. Seek help.”
Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, domestic violence and abuse services, said: “We have put plans in place to deal with a number of potential eventualities, ensuring our services are still able to provide the necessary support whilst reducing the spread of the illness.
“Any residents that have coronavirus or display symptoms of it will follow public health guidelines and will self-isolate. Communal areas will be deep cleaned and the refuge will be temporarily unable to accept new referrals. We would look at alternative accommodation options for any new referrals.”
A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Norfolk constabulary is committed to doing everything it can to continue providing the level of service the public would expect during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The constabulary has plans in place to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the organisation, and will work with its emergency service partners and other agencies to keep communities in Norfolk safe.”