A NEW domestic abuse campaign has been launched across Merseyside today following harrowing death figures.
Research by the project Counting Dead Women concluded that at least 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children had taken place in the UK during the first three weeks of the lockdown.
That is the highest figure in 11 years and more than triple the average number of killings in the same period over the last decade.
In response to those terrifying statistics, groups across the Liverpool City Region today launched a campaign telling anyone experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic '#YouAreNotAlone'.
The campaign, led by Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF) and Wirral Council, will strive to raise awareness, remind those experiencing abuse that support is still available, and encourage victims to report incidents to the police.
The forum includes Merseyside Police, the NHS, and local authorities, among others.
It is feared that the lockdown is exacerbating the threat of domestic abuse, due to the increased power it gives perpetrators to control and restrict their victim’s movements.
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 will work with specialist domestic abuse agencies to spot issues at a local level and deal with them.
The initiative highlights a growing number of issues in light of the coronavirus outbreak and signposts people to help available, including how to create a personal safety plan, how to report concerns about a friend or neighbour, and guidance for businesses on how to support staff if abuse is suspected.
Sarah McNulty, who chairs the MRF Vulnerable Peoples Cell, 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.
"Our campaign is there to reassure – focusing on specific areas of abuse to help people get the guidance they need.
"Collectively, we hope to address a growing urgency to raise awareness of the issue during the pandemic."
Ms McNulty also highlighted the work the group does with perpetrators of domestic abuse.
She said: "We want to help prevent abuse wherever we can, so the initiative also promotes services that encourage perpetrators to change their behaviour.
"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."
Useful contact numbers 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.