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Domestic abuse – help is at hand

MSP Emma Harper

FOLLOWING rising reports of domestic abuse due to lockdown measures, South Scotland MSP Emma Harper is reminding people that help is available, even during lockdown. National charity Refuge has reported an increase of 25pc in calls just in the last week and on 18 April UK charity, Crimestoppers, has recorded a 50pc increase in domestic abuse cases with many organisations throughout the UK reporting the same trend – a situation which is expected to be worsened by lockdown. When Miss Harper contacted both Rape Crisis Dumfries and Wigtownshire Women's Aid, both organisations reported an increase in reports of domestic abuse as compared with the same six weeks last year. Grants from the Scottish Government's £350million Communities Fund have been made to both Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland to ensure that access to these key support services is maintained and victims still have access to methods of reporting crimes during the crisis, including using online video platforms, text messaging, phone calls and face-face. Boots pharmacies in towns across Dumfries and Galloway are offering private consultation rooms and assistance to victims where they will have access to help and support. Boots staff are also being supported and being given education on how to recognise potential victims. Miss Harper is reminding all residents across the region that these domestic abuse services are still available and encourages people to absolutely use them if they need to. Commenting, Miss Harper said: “Firstly, we need to recognise that domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is extremely distressing, difficult and can often be hard to spot. “Reports from council social work teams and organisations such as Rape Crisis Dumfries and Wigtownshire Women's Aid are reporting an increase in the number of calls they're receiving from victims of domestic abuse during the last few weeks which is unfortunately part of a UK-wide trend. “We know that staying at home may mean some people are exposed to a greater risk of abuse, harm or neglect. “If you or someone you know needs support, help is available and there are many options for support with helplines and the likes of Boots pharmacies across the region who are now offering confidential consultations and training their staff specifically to identify those at risk. “Police Scotland is also committed to tackling domestic abuse and that has not changed during the pandemic. To report a crime contact Police Scotland on 101 or dial 999 in an emergency. There is also Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline remains operational and can be contacted 24/7 on 0800 027 1234.”

<< back Published: 13 May 2020, 10:12

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