WITH the current lockdown and restrictions ongoing for the foreseeable future, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens wants victims and survivors of domestic violence to know that they can leave their house to escape a dangerous situation or relationship.
Since January, local people and families have been asked to stay at home to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.
However, as with the other two lockdowns, restrictions do not apply if victims or survivors need to leave their home to protect themselves or their family against domestic violence.
Mountstevens said: “Domestic abuse is terrifying at any time but even more so during the current lockdown and ongoing restrictions. We need to shout louder to let victims know that, despite being in the third lockdown, they can leave their house to escape domestic abuse.
“To those experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone, and the police and support services are there to help.”
Mountstevens has also supported the new scheme Ask for ANI, which allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to go into pharmacies and discreetly signal that they need support.
By asking for ANI, which stands for Action Needed Immediately, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can gain a better understanding if the victim needs to speak to the police or access a support service.
Mountstevens added: “I believe that this new scheme will provide a simple and reassuring way for victims to access support and Ask for ANI could be a real lifeline.
“Pharmacies are safe environments and will help victims access help during a time when they feel extremely isolated and vulnerable.”
The PCC and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) continue to work alongside locally commissioned services to ensure providers can still deliver advocacy, emotional and psychological support.
Support is being delivered remotely via phone, webchat and video chat, and their helplines remain active for those who want to access support. Victims can access help whether they choose to report the crime to the police or not, no matter how long ago the incident took place.
For further information about help and support visit: https://www.thisisnotanexcuse.org/