Released: 9 April, 2020
Stay-at-home measures announced over recent weeks have seen people’s day-to-day lives drastically alter. These changes are essential to beat coronavirus and protect the NHS, but are requiring families to spend unusually high amounts of time together at home.
The economic effects of the pandemic are also causing hardship, anxiety and placing additional stress on individuals and families. Those already living in abusive situations are finding it more difficult to leave.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Any incident of domestic violence is totally unacceptable, for any reason. Sadly we know that national domestic violence charities have reported higher demand since the Government asked people to stay at home.
“The measures are really important in tackling this virus, but we know they are also increasing the pressure on some families.
“Although there has thankfully not been a noticeable increase in our domestic violence services so far, we have ensured that additional support is in place over the Bank Holiday weekend should anyone need it. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse at home, please seek help.”
Sussex Police Detective Superintendent Stephen Rayland said: “Sadly there may be an increase in reports of domestic abuse at this particularly difficult time of social distancing and isolation. Police and support services are working hard together to ensure that we are able to respond and support people if they call and need help.
Anyone who is in immediate danger and needs urgent police help should always dial 999. If someone is unable to speak for their own safety, the call will be transferred to the Silent Solution system, where callers will hear an automated message and should press 55 to be transferred to police.
The County Council’s Worth Domestic Abuse Service is available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm on 0330 222 8181 and at weekends including Bank Holidays on 07834968539, from 9am-5pm. More information and to find contact details for domestic violence charities and services across West Sussex.
Det Supt Rayland added: “Domestic abuse still remains a policing priority despite the coronavirus outbreak. It’s really important people know that we will continue to respond to domestic abuse as normal, arresting perpetrators and protecting vulnerable people.
“People facing violence or controlling behaviour at home should still report their experiences to police or seek advice and support from local domestic abuse services via the online directory Safe Space Sussex. Support services are still open and offering assistance, however, this may be slightly revised due to the impact of Coronavirus but people can still access help and advice online and over the phone.”