Maidstone Borough Council and all agencies who provide support for victims are still working and although the support may have changed, it is still there.
Across the world where they have been in isolation longer than the UK there has already been a significant rise in incidents of domestic abuse and Kent is already experiencing a significant rise in reports.
Derek Mortimer, Chair of Communities, Housing and Environment Committee said:
“Sadly we know there will be an increase in the number of people at risk of domestic abuse as this unusual situation continues.
“People may be experiencing enormous financial and emotional strain, along with a lack of routine and a lack of their usual support systems due to isolation. This will leave victims more vulnerable as there is no escaping the abusive partner.
“Support is still available; agencies are working to find the best ways to support victims and it’s important to report abuse and seek support should you need it.”
Clare Maynard, Head of Commissioning at Kent County Council said:
“We are asking everyone to be more vigilant. If you are a key worker who is still going to people’s houses, such as delivery drivers and postmen please be aware of possible domestic abuse and report any incidents or concerns you may have to ensure the safety and wellbeing of victims.
“We have arrangements in place to ensure that staff in schools and our services remain focused on keeping in regular contact with families, especially those known to be more vulnerable, and we remind all key workers who have contact with families to remain vigilant and professionally curious.
“Domestic Abuse can also heighten for victims where ex partners are abusive. Although they may not be living with the perpetrator, technology means that controlling and coercive behaviour as well as threats can mean that victims have no escape from the abuse and without a support network due to isolation, online abuse can be highly damaging to an individual. Emotional abuse in all forms must be reported and support is still available.”
If you are in danger please call 999 immediately or 101 for non-emergencies. There are certain things that victims can do if they find themselves in a dangerous or unsafe incident for example ‘The Silent Solution’- if a victim calls 999 from their mobile phone but is unable to speak as the perpetrator is nearby, dial 55 and the operator will direct your call to the police rather than terminating it.
If you or anyone you know needs support and advice or if a victim is thinking of fleeing during isolation please don't hesitate to contact the following agencies;
Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse service: 0808 168 9111 (covers Kent)
Choices Domestic Abuse Services: 0800 917 9948 (covers Medway)
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428