30 Mar 2020

Reassurance is being offered to people at risk of domestic abuse during the Coronavirus isolation period.

Dyfed-Powys Police has seen a decrease in reports of domestic abuse since the government enforced its social distancing measures, however there are concerns that the pandemic might have a serious impact on the lives of women, men and children who experience abuse at home.

Fears over jobs, financial pressure, school closures, working from home and the other sudden changes to our day-to-day lives might increase the likelihood of domestic abuse.

Advice on how to report incidents has been offered by the force, along with contact details for charities and support lines.

Detective Superintendent Anthony Griffiths, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People with Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We know this is a time of worry for all of us, but this may be heightened for those who have suffered or are suffering domestic abuse in any of its forms.

“If you’re already living with domestic abuse, the restrictions put in place while the government tries to slow the spread of the virus may have left you feeling fearful of being isolated at home with your abuser.

“It may also leave you feeling less able access help and support. You may not be able to see the friends and family who usually support you, and some of the places where you go for help or treatment may be closed or offering a reduced service.

“You may also be concerned that your reporting mechanisms are now limited.

“I want to offer you some reassurance. I want you to know we are here for you and will remain here for you throughout. We have the resources to support you and we will respond to your report swiftly.”

On an average week over the last year, the force would expect approximately 180 domestic incidents recorded. Over the last week ending March 29, 2020, 110 incidents were recorded – this is a reduction of 39%

However, officers are concerned there are people out there who feel they are unable to or unsure how to report incidents safely.

999 should be used to report in an emergency, and a reminder has been issued of the silent solution. A caller can press 55 on their phone if they are not in a safe position to speak, and the operator will be notified to transfer the call to the relevant police force. Staff will then listen to any background noise and make an assessment of the situation in order to respond correctly.

Any reports made during the Coronavirus isolation period are being dealt with as they would be during any other time, Det Supt Griffiths assured. Contact is being maintained with partner organisations, and discussions are ongoing at multi-agency forums.

“If you are concerned and would prefer not to speak to the police, you could use one of the many charities offering support,” he added.

“If you do require our support but are worried that we will leave your abuser isolated with you after an incident, I want to tell you about Domestic Violence Protection Orders. These are orders we can secure through the court within 48 hours.

"The order, if granted, can have a number of provisions including preventing the abuser from returning to the property for 28 days. This should give you the necessary respite and allow you time to put longer term plans in place. You might be reading lots about backlogs with the courts but DVPOs are handled differently and are still available to us.

“I hope this information has provided you with reassurance that we are here for you and will remain here for you throughout.”

For more advice, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

Advice for people at risk of domestic abuse during Coronavirus COVID-19 isolation

If you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police.

If you would like advice or support for you or someone else please call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10800.

Familiarise yourself with The Silent Solution system. This is a system for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency.

When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to speak, the call will be forwarded to an operating system.

Listen to the questions, respond by coughing or tapping if you can, and when asked press 55 on your keypad. The operator will transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.

Neath: 01639 633580

Powys: 01874 625146

Ammanford: 01269 597474 

Bridgend: 01656 766139

 

 

  • Hafan Cymru: Carmarthen (01267) 225555 Brecon (01874) 620030 Haverfordwest (01437) 768671

 

 

 

Llanelli 01554 752 422

 

  • West Wales Domestic Abuse Service (WWDAS): Aberystwyth helpline 01970 625585 or Cardigan helpline 01239 615385.

24Hour Helpline: 01970 625 585 or 01239 615385

0300 1232996;  goleudy@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk

 

  • Women’s Aid who hold a web chat between 10am and noon (Monday to Friday); the 24 hour 
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
  • Live Fear Free Helpline: 0808 8010 800 Email: info@livefearfreehelpline.wales (All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline)
  • National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300
  • Men’s Advice Line
    0808 801 0327
    mensadviceline.org.uk
  • National LBGT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
  • Rape Crisis (England and Wales)
    0808 802 9999
    rapecrisis.org.uk
  • The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

At the moment leaving might feel particularly difficult and you might be worried about having to leave your home in an emergency. If possible pack an emergency bag for you and your children and keep it somewhere safe. Try to include essential things such as medication, identification, money or cards. Essential clothing for you and your children.

Due to self- isolation staying with family and friends might not be an option. If you need to access refuge accommodation you can do this via the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800. The Local Authority also has a responsibility to give you information about your housing rights however this service may be reduced at this time. Shelter provide free confidential housing information, support and legal advice on all housing and homelessness issues. They also have a helpline: 08000 495 495 https://sheltercymru.org.uk/

DVPN: A Domestic Violence Protection Order can remove a perpetrator from the residence and from making contact with the survivor for up to 28 days. An Occupation Order is an injunction which removes an abusers’ rights to reside in the family home.

If a survivor has concerns around the family court, it will be useful to take a look at the CAFCASS website for guidance. They are regularly updating their information: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/2020/03/18/coronavirus-covid-19-update-on-cafcass-preparedness/

If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your

home or relationship, then call Childline on 0800 1111.

If you are concerned about your financial situation, you could contact Turn2us.

They help people to access the money available to them through welfare benefits and grants. Their website has an income-related benefits checker enabling you to check that you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to: www.turn2us.org.uk

Many survivors experience economic abuse within the context of intimate partner violence. Surviving Economic Abuse can provide information and resources: https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/

Deaf Hope provides practical and emotional support to deaf women experiencing domestic abuse: www.signhealth.org.uk

Emergency SMS provides a text message service for deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired people in the UK to send SMS messages to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the Police: www.emergencysms.org.uk