Domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors encouraged to seek help during firebreak lockdown

TODAY, Wednesday (Oct 20) in a direct plea which comes as Wales moves towards the firebreak lockdown, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, asked friends and neighbours to look out for signs of domestic abuse, and encouraged victims and survivors to seek help and escape from their homes if necessary.

Specialist services remain open and are available to help victims of harm or abuse during the fire-break lockdown. Perpetrator services, which work to prevent incidents of domestic abuse from happening, also remain open and will continue to provide support.

Jane Hutt said:

“Times of crisis can result in an increase in incidents of domestic violence, and home is not always a place of safety.

“It is vital, if you are at risk, that you should seek support straight away. You will not be in trouble if you need to leave your home to seek help, and specialist services are open and operating, refuges will take referrals, and support is available to help you.

“I want to emphasise this – if you are in danger or need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse, you are allowed to do so – you will not be in trouble. You can cross county boundaries and travel wherever necessary, and specialist services can help find you suitable emergency accommodation and support.

“I urge communities, friends, neighbours, postal workers and delivery drivers across Wales to look out for each other, and act as the eyes and ears for victims of abuse who need help. These are scary times for all of us, but those at risk of abuse could be hanging on to life by a thread.

“It is very important, for your safety and the victim’s, that you don’t intervene yourself, but you can help by calling 999 in an emergency or Live Fear Free (contact details below). You could be saving a life.”

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If you or someone you know is suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a partner, here are some ways to get help:

The Live Fear Free helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call free on 0808 8010 800 any time, if you can do it safely. You can also text 0786 007 7333, email info@livefearfreehelpline.wales or webchat – https://gov.wales/live-fear-free/contact-live-fear-free.

If you can’t talk in safety, but you need help immediately, police forces across Wales will respond to a silent 999 call – dial 999, followed by 55 when the operator answers to indicate that you can’t talk, but need help.

Signs that abuse is happening behind closed doors could include repeated shouting, sounds of things being hit, smashed or broken, and continuing crying or pleas to stop. Victims might have cuts or bruises, look confused or dishevelled, or be anxious or withdrawn.

If you suspect that someone, whether child or adult, is suffering abuse, harm, neglect, harassment, control, physical violence or emotional abuse at the hands of a family member or partner, please call 999 if it’s an emergency, or seek support on Welsh Government’s ‘reporting suspected abuse, harm or neglect site’ here – https://gov.wales/reporting-suspected-abuse-harm-or-neglect-safeguarding.

If you are worried about your own behaviour, you can get non-judgemental help by contacting the Respect Phoneline: https://respectphoneline.org.uk/ Tel: 0808 8024 040

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