Enhanced support for those suffering domestic abuse is launched
As the national coronavirus lockdown continues, Birmingham City Council has been working with Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWAID) to widen available support for those at risk of domestic abuse.
The importance of staying home to help stop the spread of Covid-19 has also meant those suffering domestic abuse are, as a result of the lockdown, spending more time with their perpetrators – with fewer opportunities to seek help.
This week BSWAID extended its helpline’s opening hours, so people can contact their specially trained team daily on 0808 800 0028 between 9.15am and 5.15pm.
For those unable to speak safely to operators, the charity is also piloting a local webchat service over the coming weeks through www.bswaid.org, where those in need can have a confidential web chat between 10am and 2pm on weekdays.
Also the Domestic Abuse Hub – which the city council opened in partnership with BSWAID in March 2019 – remains open to those who are at risk of being made homeless as a result of domestic abuse. Those at risk can call 0808 169 9604 for an appointment at the Hub.
Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Significant numbers are at a higher risk of abuse because they are having to say at home with the perpetrator during the current lockdown.
“The usual opportunities to leave the home such as going to work, going shopping or doing the school run aren’t there and this can make it harder to access help.
“We’re determined to do all we can to keep people safe during the lockdown and afterwards too. Support is available now: both online, on the phone and at the Domestic Abuse Hub – to help victims and those at risk in confidence.
“The message is clear. There is no excuse for abuse and we will not tolerate it in our city.”
Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive at Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, said: “For women and children living with abusers, being locked down creates a significant increase in risk and it is key that our services are more accessible than ever.
“Our new webchat is open, accessed through our website offers an alternative means for victims to gain access to specialist advice and support around the abuse that they are living with. We want them to know that help is available, that they still have options, and even in such challenging times there is life after domestic abuse.”
Support is also available from Cranstoun, which offers a lead worker service in Birmingham for both male and female victims of domestic abuse on 0121 633 1750.
Advice and support for the city’s LGBT+ community is available from Birmingham LGBT’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocate Service on 0121 643 0821.
For emergency help, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24-hours – 0808 2000 247.