Domestic violence victims should not suffer in silence during lockdown - Mark Burns-Williamson

No-one needs to feel alone or suffer in silence during this difficult time, writes Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

We recognise that Covid-19 has a significant impact on victims and survivors who may have been confined indoors with perpetrators and new additional funding means that, working with local services and partners, we can do even more to ensure that all those harmed by domestic and sexual abuse – wherever they are – can access the help and support they need.

I want those individuals who need help and support to know they have not been forgotten, and we are here for you. We will continue to help you during these really testing times, whether or not you feel able or want to report directly to the Police.

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I have made available an extraordinary grant round of my Safer Communities Fund is which is now giving more than £170,000 to 32 projects dealing with the impact and fall out of COVID-19.

They include Behind Closed Doors, which supports people whose lives have been affected by domestic violence and abuse. This funding will enable Prevention and Recovery Service workers to provide telephone and online support for women, men and children in families affected by domestic abuse. It will also help clients deal with the additional suffering and distress caused by the lockdown including re-traumatisation, anxiety and stress.

We are working quickly to pay monies out by the end of this month.

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We know we need a great deal of planning for the yet unknown full impact of the lockdown and providers anticipate a surge in services so it is crucial we continue the positive partnership working between providers, Police and partners to ensure victim safety. It is important that victims of domestic abuse and violence know that they are not alone and we are here to support them in whatever way we can.

You can also contact your local independent Victim Support team in West Yorkshire on 0300 303 1971 which is a core service commissioned through my office.

Lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm Saturday.

If you need support outside of their open hours, call the Victim Support line for free on 08 08 16 89 111 or request support via their website