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Merseyside campaign highlights domestic abuse support during COVID-19

Sefton Council has joined partner organisations across the Liverpool City Region to launch a new domestic abuse campaign telling anyone experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic: #YouAreNotAlone.

Led by Merseyside Resilience Forum and Wirral Council, the multi-agency initiative aims to raise awareness, remind those experiencing abuse that support is still available, and encourage victims to report incidents to the police.

Both locally and nationally, there is growing concern about the threat of domestic abuse due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Home Office recently launched the #YouAreNotAlone hashtag across the UK – a move that was welcomed by domestic abuse charities and campaigners.

Adopting the Home Office Hashtag, the new Merseyside-wide campaign takes urgent action to spotlight the issue at a local level; working alongside a range of support agencies who offer specialist domestic abuse advice all year round.

It highlights were anyone worried about abuse can get help on a range of issues, including:

  • creating a personal safety plan
  • how to report concerns about a friend or neighbour
  • where local businesses can get guidance on supporting staff when abuse is suspected

DCC Serena Kennedy, Chair of Merseyside Resilience Forum, said: “Sadly, we know that staying home isn’t a safe option for everyone. For those experiencing abuse, getting out of the house to buy essentials can be a way of escape. But while everyone’s daily movements are restricted more than usual, perpetrators could be using the lockdown to further isolate, restrict, and control their victims.

“Local agencies offering advice on this issue are appreciated more than ever. Working together, we hope to reach as many people as possible to make domestic abuse one less thing to fear at this already uncertain time.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “It is vital that we let people who are silently suffering or concerned for their safety during this period of isolation and social-distancing know they are not alone and that people in their communities care about them and are looking out for them.

“I fully support this coordinated campaign to make sure that people have as much access as possible to ways of finding help, support and advice and would urge people across Sefton get behind the #YouAreNotAlone campaign.”

Merseyside Resilience Forum includes Merseyside Police, the NHS, and authorities from across the Liverpool City Region.

A full list of Forum members is available on its website.

Useful information for anyone worried about domestic abuse:

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 2000 247
  • Wirral Women and Children’s Aid: 0151 643 9766
  • Involve North West: 0151 644 1100 and press 7
  • In an emergency, always call 999