As reports of domestic abuse surge during lockdown, Leeds Rhinos legends Kevin Sinfield MBE and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have thrown their weight behind a social media campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
The campaign, launched today (May 12) is a partnership between the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Inspire North, a charity which provides support for people affected by domestic abuse and mental health issues across the North of England.
A report published by the Home Office Affairs Committee on Monday 27 April revealed that calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline, increased by 49% in the week prior to 15 April.
Former Great Britain, England and Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield is vice-president of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and one of the spearheads of the #noexcuseforabuse campaign.
He encouraged people who suspected their neighbours may be being abused to call the police. He said:
It’s everyone’s responsibility to speak out and alert the authorities if they suspect there is a problem.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan, a former Great Britain, England and Leeds Rhinos professional RL player, is a trustee of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and is also at the forefront of the #noexcuseforabuse campaign. He said:
In these unprecedented times, where the vast majority of us are helping each other out, it is a massive concern that for too many people lockdown for them is feeling scared, isolated and dangerously vulnerable.
The campaign encourages people to show their support by posting videos and photos of themselves on social media holding a piece of paper with the hashtag #noexcuseforabuse, and to then tag two people to pass the message on.
Bob Bowman QPM, Chief Operating Officer of Leeds Rhinos Foundation, is a former Leeds based police officer. He said:
For some, lockdown means spending all day, every day with the person who physically abuses them in their own home.
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson OBE is also backing the campaign. He said:
I very much welcome this joint campaign and anything we can do collectively to raise awareness about domestic abuse to help those who are suffering in order to access the help and support they really need is vital.