Free to flee domestic abuse during lockdown

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay - Credit: Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Victims of domestic abuse in North Somerset are being reminded they can leave their house to flee from a dangerous situation or relationship during lockdown. 

A new scheme has also been launched - Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) , which allows those at risk, or suffering from abuse to go into pharmacies and discreetly signal that they need help. 

The current lockdown and restrictions are in place for the foreseeable future, with people being asked to stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

As with the previous two lockdowns, restrictions do not apply for those who need to leave their home to protect themselves or their family against domestic violence. 

Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Sue 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.” 

And, with the new scheme, by asking for ANI, at a pharmacy, a trained member of staff will offer a private space, where they can gain a better understanding of whether the victim needs to speak to the police or access a support service. 

Ms 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.” 

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Support is being delivered remotely via phone, webchat and video chat. 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 available, log on to thisisnotanexcuse.org/ 

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