Around the world, increased incidents of domestic violence have been reported in countries which have introduced social distancing measures in order to reduce the spread of the disease.
Kathy Cole-Evans, Chief Officer of Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum, said: "We know that this is a difficult and challenging time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse, and the professionals who are working hard to support them.
"Social distancing measures including a requirement for us all to stay at home as much as possible are vital in helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus but, for many survivors of domestic violence, staying at home may not feel the safest option.
"We also know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can create circumstances where individuals’ safety is further compromised.
"The key thing to remember is that, if you or someone you know are experiencing domestic abuse amid this coronavirus outbreak, you are not alone – organisations are working closely together to continue to provide a range of support for you during this difficult time. Please don't suffer in silence; there are a number of ways you can seek help including by telephone, webchat, email, and accessing detailed advice on websites.”
In an emergency, always dial 999. You can either speak to the operator when you are asked “which service”, or if you’re unable to respond due to safety reasons, remain silent on the line and follow the silent system prompts to alert police.
If you are not in immediate danger, contact the following local and national specialist organisations for advice and support:
- The Haven Wolverhampton 24 hour helpline for women - 08000 194400, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Haven Counselling helpline - 08000 308 345 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 2pm)
- Haven online Live Chat, (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- St George’s Hub support for male victims - 01902 421904
- City of Wolverhampton Council Adult Social Care Services - 01902 551199
- City of Wolverhampton Council Children's Social Care Services - 01902 555392
- City of Wolverhampton Council Homeless Services - 01902 554747
- West Midlands Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Helpline - 0800 953 9777
- National Domestic Violence helpline for women - 0808 2000 247
- National Domestic Violence helpline for men - 0808 8010327
- Victim Support - 0300 303 1977
- Rape Crisis England and Wales - 0808 802 9999
- National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline 0800 999 5428
- Respect helpline for people worried about their own behaviour - 0808 802 4040,
For information and detailed advice on staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic, please access online resources for victims and survivors at SafeLives. Consider your safety by deleting your browser history or use ‘private browsing’ as a way to hide your searches.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Domestic violence can be anything from physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse to intimidation, isolation, threats, and coercive and controlling behaviour.
"Sadly, other parts of the world have reported increased cases of domestic violence, the unintended consequences of social distancing measures which are a necessary part in our fight against coronavirus.
"But the bottom line is that domestic violence is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, or a younger or older person, and I'd urge anyone who is a victim, or knows of someone who is, to speak out and get the support they need."
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).