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Help for domestic abuse victims during Covid-19 lockdown

#YouAreNotAlone, support services remain available for those affected by domestic abuse during this difficult time.

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown is likely to be felt more by those who already face many challenges in the home. Self-isolating with an abuser can feel like a prison sentence, and the situation may also be used to exert further control. You do not need to suffer in silence, help is available.

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What is domestic violence or domestic abuse?

Domestic violence or domestic abuse can be defined as "Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality."

Whatever form the abuse takes, it is rarely a one-off incident and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim.

If left unchallenged, abuse can become more frequent and severe.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.

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Abuse can include some of the following:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Actual or threat of physical harm
  • Deprivation of food, sleep or money
  • Biting, pushing, kicking, punching
  • Name calling and verbal threats
  • Sexual threats or forced sex
  • Use of weapons
  • Emotional blackmail
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Imprisonment in your own home
  • Humiliation or belittlement
  • Using your children against you

If you recognise any of the above, you may be living with abuse.

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Do you need help or know anyone who does?

If you are in a violent or abusive relationship or if you know or are supporting somebody in that situation, don’t suffer in silence, help is available from the agencies listed below:

For emergencies call the Police by dialling 999, they will respond, investigate and assist you. If speaking or making an immediate sound would put you in danger and you need immediate help, call 999 and stay on the line, then press 55 when prompted and the call will be transferred to the police, who will know it is an emergency call.

For non-emergency numbers call 101.

The National Domestic Violence Helpline Number can be reached on (FREEPHONE) 0808 2000 247. This is a 24-hour service.

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Additional sources of help

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Clare’s Law

People with concerns about their partner’s history are able to request background information from Suffolk police.

The aim of this scheme is to give you a formal mechanism to make inquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past.

Further information about Clare’s Law can be found on Suffolk police’s website.