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Domestic abuse victims are being reassured that support is still available during the coronavirus shutdown

Victims of domestic violence and abuse are being assured that support is still available amid the ongoing Coronavirus shutdown.

There are concerns that calls to refuge centres have dropped during the outbreak as victims are in lockdown with their abusers and either cannot get time alone to report, or are concerned that support services are closed.

Middlesbrough abuse support charity My Sister's Place said it had half the normal number of requests last week.

The Harbour service in Hartlepool fears victims are living in a "pressure cooker" thinking services are closed.

Manager Danielle Chadwick said they might feel "they have no options, no support available".

Her service was "quite concerned that we haven't seen an increase so far", she said.

They are using other contact routes, such as social media, to make clear support was available.

"It's been described as a pressure cooker because not only is there is abuse present already but then we have the additional pressures of children not at school and everybody under one roof, lack of space, lack of social activities, mental health deteriorating," Ms Chadwick said.

Experts have already warned government isolation instructions are "likely" to cause a spike in cases.

While services are changing in response to Government guidance on social distancing, help is there for those in the greatest need.

If I hadn't have escaped when I did, I would have seen no way out - I honestly don't think I would be here today

– Anonymous victim

Victims themselves, but also neighbours, friends or family members who are aware of someone at risk or who have concerns are being advised to report via phone or email to the following services which are still accepting referrals:

Support for adults affected by domestic abuse

Support can include: safety advice, securing your property, housing, finances and legal advice, support at Court, Refuge services, counselling, peer support groups.

Middlesbrough Area

My Sister’s Place: 01642 241864

Stockton & Hartlepool Area

Harbour(male and female): 03000 202525

Redcar & Cleveland Area

Foundation (male and female): 03004562214

Eva Women’s Aid: 01642 490677

All Cleveland Area – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Service

Halo: 01642683045 or Freephone 08081 788

Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham

Harbour Domestic Abuse Support Service: (0191) 251 3305 or 0300 0202 525 or visit www.myharbour.org.uk

Victims First Northumbria: 0800 011 3116

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland: 0191 2220272

NIDAS (Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service): 01912146501

The Angelou Centre for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women: 01912260394

National

Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hours): 08082000247

Support for children affected by domestic abuse

Local services—support includes: group and 1-1 work using art, play therapy, drama and sport, covering behaviours and feelings, healthy relationships, safety, confidence building, dealing with anger.

Middlesbrough, Stockton & Hartlepool Area

Harbour– Children and Young Persons Service: 03000202525

Redcar and Cleveland Area

Eva Women’s Aid – Children’s Counselling Service: 01642490677

North East

Acorns project: 0191 349 8366

Children North East: 0191 256 2444

National Services

Childline: 08001111 (www.childline.org.uk)

NSPCC: 0808800 500 (www.nspcc.org.uk)

Children’s Social Care numbers

Middlesbrough: 01642201934

Stockton: 01642527764

Redcar: 01642771500

Hartlepool: 01429284284

Out of Hours Social Care Duty Team: 01642 524552

Newcastle: 0191 277 2500

North Tyneside: 0345 2000 109

Northumberland: 01670 536400

Gateshead: 0191 433 2653

Sunderland: 0191 561 7007

South Tyneside: 0191 424 5010

Durham: 03000 26 79 79

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