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Merseyside campaign highlights domestic abuse support during COVID-19

by Laura Johnston

Knowsley Council along with partner organisations across the Liverpool City Region have teamed up to launch a new domestic abuse campaign at 11am today – telling anyone experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic: #YouAreNotAlone.

Led by Merseyside Resilience Forum, the multi-agency initiative aims to raise awareness, remind those experiencing abuse that support is still available, and encourage victims to report incidents to the police.

Both locally and nationally, there is growing concern about the threat of domestic abuse due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Home Office recently launched the #YouAreNotAlone hashtag across the UK – a move that was welcomed by domestic abuse charities and campaigners.

Adopting the Home Office Hashtag, the new Merseyside-wide campaign takes urgent action to spotlight the issue at a local level; working alongside a range of support agencies who offer specialist domestic abuse advice all year round.

It highlights were anyone worried about abuse can get help on a range of issues, including:

  • creating a personal safety plan
  • how to report concerns about a friend or neighbour
  • where local businesses can get guidance on supporting staff when abuse is suspected

Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, Chair of Merseyside Resilience Forum, said: “Sadly, we know that staying home isn’t a safe option for everyone. For those experiencing abuse, getting out of the house to buy essentials can be a way of escape. But while everyone’s daily movements are restricted more than usual, perpetrators could be using the lockdown to further isolate, restrict, and control their victims.

“Local agencies offering advice on this issue are appreciated more than ever. Working together, we hope to reach as many people as possible to make domestic abuse one less thing to fear at this already uncertain time.”

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said “With the current lock-down situation, residents who are in an abusive relationship may not know where to turn for help and support. Through the #YouAreNotAlone campaign, there’s a choice of phone or online support – both of which can help you to know what your options are to help you take your next step. My message is, you are not alone and support is available.”

Including Merseyside Police, the NHS, and local authorities from across the Liverpool City Region, a full list of Merseyside Resilience Forum members is available on its website.

If you are a Knowsley resident and are experiencing domestic abuse or believe someone you know is please contact:

Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
Tel: 0151 443 2600
Knowsley Early Help Hub
Freephone helpline on 0800 073 0043 and ask for your information to be passed onto the Early Help Hub and one of our staff will call you back. Or you could complete the online form by clicking the ask for help and support on this link.
The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
Tel: 0151 548 3333
Website: www.thefirststep.org.uk

Useful information for anyone worried about domestic abuse:

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 2000 247
  • Wirral Women and Children’s Aid: 0151 643 9766
  • lnvolve North West: 0151 644 1100 and press 7
  • In an emergency, always call 999
  • itsneverokaywirral.org