Rise in do­mes­tic abuse re­fer­rals dur­ing lock­down

Char­i­ties re­port up­surge in peo­ple seek­ing help dur­ing pan­demic

Windsor & Eton Express - - Front Page -

Do­mes­tic abuse char­i­ties have seen a huge spike in re­fer­rals dur­ing lock­down and fear fig­ures will

con­tinue to rise as the pan­demic con­tin­ues.

Do­mes­tic abuse char­i­ties have seen a huge spike in re­fer­rals dur­ing lock­down and fear fig­ures will con­tinue to rise as the pan­demic con­tin­ues, writes Grace Wither­den.

The Dash Char­ity, which is based at Slough Trad­ing Es­tate, and also serves peo­ple within the Royal Bor­ough said it had a 66 per cent in­crease in re­fer­rals from April to June.

The char­ity had 70 re­fer­rals in April, 116 in May and 87 in June.

Alison Bourne, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Dash said the char­ity has had to adapt to the chal­lenges of lock­down, which in­clude work­ing re­motely and in­suf­fi­cient fund­ing to cover the in­crease in re­fer­rals.

She said: “Fund­ing is al­ways a chal­lenge. Just when we need it, we haven’t seen it come through.

“We haven’t got fan­tas­tic tech­nol­ogy, we are a small char­ity, and a lot of the big fund­ing has gone to na­tional char­i­ties, who do great work but not front­line work like small lo­cal ones.”

The char­ity launched an ur­gent fundrais­ing cam­paign to raise £150,000 for es­sen­tial work.

It also thanked the com­mu­nity for dona­tions from its Ama­zon Wish­list.

Alison said a lot of staff lap­tops did not have cam­eras, which made it dif­fi­cult at the be­gin­ning to hold face-to-face con­tact with those in need.

The un­cer­tainty over Dash’s fu­ture fund­ing means the char­ity can­not keep staff on long con­tracts and Claire Batch­e­lor, ad­vo­cacy and out­reach ser­vices man­ager, said it lim­its the char­ity from tak­ing a pre­ven­ta­tive ap­proach to do­mes­tic abuse.

Dash runs a healthy re­la­tion­ships work­shop in schools to try and break the cy­cle of abuse, and works with Thames Val­ley Po­lice to re­duce re­peated in­ci­dents but these pro­grammes cost money.

Claire said: “We’ve never wanted to turn any­one away as we know how hard it is to call, it’s such a big thing to be shar­ing what they’ve been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

The char­ity has urged peo­ple to get in touch if they know some­one who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing abuse.

Claire added: “There is a stigma that peo­ple feel em­bar­rassed to have caused it.

“The only peo­ple that cause it is the per­pe­tra­tor.

“It is their choice to be vi­o­lent and co­er­cive.

“If you see it, call it out as it could save peo­ple’s lives.”

Hes­tia, a do­mes­tic abuse char­ity which serves Lon­don and Slough, said it also saw re­fer­rals rise – by 31 per cent in Slough dur­ing lock­down.

An­drea Lawrence, ser­vice man­ager for Slough said: “Com­ing out of lock­down, there has been a huge in­crease, we’ve had more self re­fer­rals.

“Un­for­tu­nately a lot of peo­ple we sup­port are liv­ing with the per­pe­tra­tor and they can’t al­ways con­tact us by tele­phone.”

She said the char­ity will ‘al­most def­i­nitely’ see an in­crease in re­fer­rals if the coun­try en­ters a re­ces­sion and peo­ple lose their jobs.

“Money is al­ways an is­sue and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence has many fac­tors. If one per­son is work­ing from home the pres­sure may in­crease, it can be any­thing that causes pres­sure on an in­di­vid­ual,” she added.

W The Gov­ern­ment was con­tacted for com­ment about con­cerns raised by The Dash Char­ity about cen­tral fund­ing.

It had not re­sponded at the time of go­ing to press.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.