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People reminded that a worry is enough to make a call on domestic violence

Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Distressed man

PEOPLE are being urged to be vigilant and aware of the signs of domestic abuse amid concerns about falling numbers of calls for local support.

Free confidential advice is available to anyone concerned about domestic violence or abuse and support services remain open and as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown.

UAVA – United Against Violence and Abuse – is the local support service for people affected by domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

It offers support for victims, advice for people concerned that someone they know might be experiencing domestic abuse and help for people who want to stop using abusive behaviour.

The free confidential service offers a helpline on 0808 80 200 28 and support by text message on 07715 994 962.

Information is also available on its website at uava.org.uk

The service has seen a fall in calls for support in recent weeks, leading to concerns that victims are not able to report abuse, call for support or talk to friends and family as easily during lockdown.

It’s now more important than ever that anyone concerned about domestic violence and abuse realises that a worry is enough to make the call.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on domestic abuse and children’s social care, said: “The lockdown is a challenging situation for all of us but feeling isolated in an abusive situation must be terrifying. 

“It’s heart-breaking to think that people might be suffering in silence and we want them to know that they can turn to us for help. Our communities also have a really important role to play, checking in on friends, family and neighbours and not ignoring any concerns they might have about signs of domestic abuse. 

“We want to ensure that everyone has somewhere to turn to if they have any concerns about domestic abuse. These might be difficult times, but domestic and sexual violence is wrong, whatever the circumstances.

“If you’re worried, make the call to UAVA”

Signs that might indicate a person might be experiencing domestic violence or abuse include: 

  • The person is struggling to stay socially connected with others
  • The abuser saying or doing things to humiliate person
  • The person is losing weight or looking unwell
  • The abuser is controlling or coercive, making lots of rules for the person to follow which can include what they wear, who they talk to and how they access money
  • The person has injuries or seems fearful

To report concerns, call the UAVA helpline on 0808 80 200 28. Calls are free and confidential, and the lines are staffed Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm.

If you are very concerned about your own or someone else’s immediate safety, you can contact the Police on 999. You can also report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To report concerns about children’s welfare in Leicester call: 0116 454 1004 or visit: www.leicester.gov.uk/health-and-social-care

The Jenkins Centre offers a free service for people who want to stop using abusive behaviour. To find out more call 0116 254 0101 or visit jenkinscentre.org

More information is also available at www.leicester.gov.uk/domesticabuse   

The city council has also worked with Leicestershire Police to distribute information about the support offered by UAVA to supermarkets, food banks and other key locations across the city. This has been translated into 14 community languages.