HELEN Mary Jones Plaid Cymru AM for Mid and West Wales has said much more needs to be done to help protect and support those at risk of domestic abuse.
Ms Jones pointed to an alarming rise in the number of domestic violence incidents since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown.
The AM said people at risk of domestic abuse, overwhelmingly women, were at significant risk during lockdown, being forced to stay at home in potentially dangerous situations. Increased pressures on police forces could also, potentially, lead to longer than average response times to a crisis situation.
Helen Mary Jones AM urged Welsh Government, along with politicians and the public, to help further, particularly by promoting the domestic violence support line, the 999 dial 55 procedure for those at imminent risk who feel unable to talk on the phone or call for help and for the Welsh Government to support more widespread public advertising online and elsewhere. Ms Jones also made a plea for neighbours, friends and families to also contact authorities if they feel someone is in need and cannot speak out.
Rachel Williams, a domestic abuse survivor and campaigner has also called for greater urgency and support and said that the current DVPO orders are only for 28 days, and currently has a petition where she is asking for support to call for this to be extended.
Helen Mary Jones AM said,
“We know that, unfortunately, home is not a safe or secure place for everyone. Today, thousands of women across Wales will be self-isolating with abusive partners. It will be harder for that person to call for help if their abuser is with them all the time. So I’m asking neighbours to be willing to make that call instead. If something sounds wrong to you, then it probably is wrong.
“Please call the police – your call could help someone in desperate need stay safe, could help someone protect their children from a violent situation and even save someone’s life”.
Domestic abuse survivor and campaigner Rachel Williams said,
“We have a pandemic exacerbating the epidemic that is coercive control, violence and domestic abuse. The quicker Welsh Government act, the more lives will be saved. I ask Welsh Government to ensure that funding is available for frontline specialist services so that we can continue this lifesaving work.”