Superintendent Paul McCurry who is leading South Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid-19 has issued this message to victims of domestic abuse:
“We know this is a time of worry for all of us but this may be heightened for those who have suffered or are suffering domestic abuse in any of its forms. The isolation period, in most cases, will mean that you have little to no respite from your abuser and you may be concerned that your reporting mechanisms are now limited. I want to offer you some reassurance.
“I’m writing this to let you know we are here for you and will remain here for you throughout. We have the resources to support you and we will take your report seriously.
“One of your concerns may be the ways in which you will contact us should something occur. 999 is available for all emergencies and I want to remind you of our silent solutions. If you ring 999 and are not in a safe position to speak just press ’55’. This will notify the operator to transfer your call to the relevant police force. Our staff will listen, and make an assessment of your situation based on what they can hear in the background so we can get the right response to you
“If you are concerned and would prefer not to speak to the police, you could use one of the many charities offering support, these include Womens Aid who hold a web chat between 10am and noon (Monday to Friday); the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, Mankind or Galop (specialising in LGBT+ who have a phone line available between 10 to 5pm) or Karma Nirvana who have support lines available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 0800 599 9247.
“If you do require our support but are worried that we will leave your abuser isolated with you after an incident, I want to tell you about Domestic Violence Protection Orders. These are orders we can secure through the court within 48 hours.
“The order, if granted, can have a number of provisions including preventing the abuser from returning to the property for 28 days. This should give you the necessary respite and allow you time to put longer term plans in place. You might be reading lots about backlogs with the courts but DVPOs are handled differently and are still available to us.
“You may also be concerned about where your abuser would go if they were not allowed home during the COVID isolation period. We will look for alternative accommodation for them, possibly with friends or family or emergency accommodation.
“I hope this information has provided you with a little peace. We are here for you and will remain here for you throughout.”
Further information on support services can be found here.