A charity in the South West which helps victims of domestic abuse is reaching out to adults and children who could be suffering behind closed doors during lockdown.
BCHA, which operates refuges wants to reassure women in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole that support is one phone call away.
Donna Cullimore, BCHA's business manager for domestic abuse services locally, said: “We know that lockdown will have a serious impact on the lives of many families as they are forced to self-isolate.
“One of the ways that abusers control their victims is to isolate them from friends and family, and lockdown plays into the hands of the aggressor.
“Enforced isolation due to Covid-19 may increase coercive control/domestic abuse, such as assaults, threats, intimidation and other forms of physical and psychological aggression.
“Your partner must not, in any circumstance, be punishing or frightening you or your children – these are criminal acts and the level of abuse could worsen as lockdown continues.
“It is wholly unacceptable for people to regulate the everyday behaviours of their partners and children. If that is happening, then this is illegal coercion.”
Lockdown has already led to three referrals where victims have sought safety at the local refuges, Donna confirmed.
The alert by BCHA follows reports that the National Domestic Abuse helpline, run by Refuge, has recorded a 25% rise in calls and online requests for help since lockdown; campaigners warn that lockdown restrictions could “heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes”.
BCHA has a dedicated Domestic Violence outreach service covering Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole:
Call 01202 710777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(9am - 5pm, 7 days a week)
Please contact the line for advice or if you need a refuge space if it is safe to do so.
Call 999 if you or someone else are in immediate danger.
Refuge freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (charity for women and children against domestic violence).