"show victims of domestic abuse: you are not alone."
As part of the COVID-19 support initiatives by the UK government has launched a new public awareness campaign to help domestic abuse victims.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary announced the #YouAreNotAlone initiative aimed at helping those who are suffering from domestic abuse during the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK.
Increased funding and support have been offered to charities helping domestic abuse sufferers.
In addition to the £750m support for charities announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, an additional £2 million has been immediately added to help domestic abuse helplines and online support.
The Home Office has been working with charities and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to provide this increased fund.
The #YouAreNotAlone is designed to help victims who may have to leave home due to domestic abuse and those who tormented in their home by perpetrators, be they male or female.
The aim is to show victims they are not alone and isolated without any support. The campaign will be promoting all the different kinds of support available, including the freephone, 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – 0808 2000 247, which run by Refuge.
Signposting to where victims and sufferers can get support will be the ethos of the campaign. Online support services and a messaging service with domestic abuse experts is part of the provision.
Those in immediate danger are urged to call 999.
If you cannot talk due to danger, you are to dial 999 from a mobile and then when prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard, which will automatically transfer the call to the police. This only works from mobiles.
If you call 999 from a landline, then any background noise or distress heard by call handlers, which can then result in police taking action.
The government has created a detailed outline of the services available to domestic abuse sufferers on the UK GOV website. This includes a list of organisations and helplines victims can contact.
This support announced by Priti Patel comes after charities have reported a major surge in calls from sufferers experiencing domestic abuse and violence in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Refuge has seen an increase of 120% in calls related to domestic violence and abuse with victims who are both women and men.
Priti Patel said in the daily COVID-19 briefing:
“Coronavirus has opened Britain’s enormous heart and shown our love and compassion for one another as we come together to help those most in need.
“I am now asking this nation to use that amazing compassion and community spirit to embrace those trapped in the horrific cycle of abuse.
“And to help us all look out for those who need help, we have created a symbol of hope – a handprint with a heart on – so that people can easily show that we will not tolerate abuse as a society and that we stand in solidarity with victims of domestic abuse.
“I would urge everyone to share it on social media or in the windows of your home, alongside a link to the support available, to demonstrate just how much this country cares.
“And to show victims of domestic abuse: you are not alone.”
Sandra Horley OBE, the chief executive of Refuge welcomed the government’s announcement and said:
“Refuge is grateful for the Government’s support at this critical time.”
“We have worked around the clock to ensure our national helpline and frontline specialist services remain open and accessible to women experiencing domestic abuse.
“What is needed now, more than ever, is to ensure every woman experiencing domestic abuse is aware of the confidential support available.
“We hope the Government’s campaign will reach the tens of thousands of people experiencing domestic abuse, helping send the message – you are not alone.”
If you, or you know of someone who is suffering from domestic abuse, you are urged to report it.
Key organisations which can help with domestic abuse include:
National Domestic Abuse Helpline
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is run by Refuge and offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day to victims and those who are worried about friends and loved ones.
Telephone: 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line
The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them.
Telephone: 0808 801 0327
Galop -for members of the LGBT+ community
Galop runs the National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline.
Telephone: 0800 999 5428
Karma Nirvana runs a national honour-based abuse helpline.
Telephone: 0800 5999 247
Chayn provides online help and resources in a number of languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.
Imkaan are a women’s organisation addressing violence against black and minority women and girls.
Southall Black Sisters
Southall Black Sisters offer advocacy and information to Asian and Afro-Caribbean women suffering abuse.
Stay Safe East
Stay Safe East provides advocacy and support services to disabled victims and survivors of abuse.