Crimestoppers Scotland launches campaign amid warnings of domestic abuse increase

As more people are isolated during the coronavirus pandemic, the charity Crimestoppers Scotland is launching a new campaign across the country appealing for information from people who are aware of domestic abuse happening to friends, family, work colleagues or neighbours.

Domestic abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial. The charity said neighbours, family and friends may be suspicious, but are often reluctant to get involved because of embarrassment, split loyalties or fear of revenge.

In 2017-2018 there were 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by Police Scotland. Women made up 82% of the victims.

As an independent charity which has helped millions of people over the years, Crimestoppers is asking those with concerns to pass on what they know whilst staying 100% anonymous. 

Angerla Parker, national manager for Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay in their homes, our fear is that rates of domestic violence will rise.

“This is a serious crime that leaves victims feeling trapped, alone and powerless. They are often too scared or vulnerable to seek help or speak out.

“To be isolated during this lockdown in an abusive household must be terrifying, and you must feel so alone, that there is no one to help you. This is where we as a community can step forward. Often in cases of Domestic Abuse, the community knows something, but struggles to know what to do to help.

Crimestoppers’ UK Contact Centre is open 24/7 on freephone 0800 555 111 or people can visit and fill in a simple and secure anonymous online form.

Last week, Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) and CIH Scotland published new guidance for social landlords to assist them in responding robustly to domestic abuse as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Minister for older people and equalities, Christina McKelvie, said: “During this time we have all been asked to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. And so home has become somewhere where we are seeking safety, reassurance and comfort.

“But unfortunately for many people, home is not a safe haven. It is a place of threat and harm both physical and mental. Those suffering domestic abuse, including coercive and controlling behaviours, can feel isolated and vulnerable, unheard and unseen.

“This is why we ask that people come together with the community spirit that we have seen during this difficult time to help our neighbours, family and friends whose lives may be impacted by this violence and abuse.

“If you know or suspect someone may be the victim of domestic abuse, you can pass this information on to Crimestoppers 100% anonymously. Tackling domestic abuse is everyone’s duty and we would urge you to be vigilant so that women and children across your communities receive the help, support and advice they need.

“Every day over a thousand people trust Crimestoppers with their anonymous information. Together, we can help stop domestic abuse and prevent more people from experiencing potential violent or lethal harm in the home. You could save victims from abuse, children from living in fear, you could save lives.” 

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