SafeLives urges people to 'reach in' to support domestic abuse victims and survivors in their communities
Domestic abuse charity SafeLives launches #ReachIn campaign encouraging people to act if they’re concerned someone they know is experiencing domestic abuse during lockdown.
Together with a group of survivors of domestic abuse, SafeLives urges communities to come together and ‘reach in’ to those unable to reach out for support.
Lockdown is difficult for everyone. However, for those living with an abusive partner or family member, it is dangerous, traumatic and relentless. Opportunities to access support and reach out are reduced as making phone calls or visiting services is much harder.
Over the last few weeks, there has been a huge community effort to reach people who may be vulnerable, ensuring they have the food and essentials they need. SafeLives urges those volunteers and the wider community to be alert to the signs of abuse, to watch out for signs and to recognise what they can do to help.
SafeLives Pioneers, a group of survivors of domestic abuse who use their experiences to drive change, have spoken out about times when someone ‘reached in’ to help them, and the difference it made. SafeLives is sharing their stories, as well as practical help and guidance on what to do if you’re worried about someone you know.
Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives, said: ‘We know that only one in five adult victims of domestic abuse will call the police – and of course for children this is even lower. For many, informal support networks like family, friends, colleagues, school friends and neighbours are vital and can be the difference between getting help or not.
‘Now more than ever, we need people to step up and check in on the people around them. Sometimes the most important thing you can do for someone is give them the opportunity to talk about what’s going on. We need people to listen, believe and offer to help connect that adult or child with the support they need.’
SafeLives Pioneer Celia Peachey said: ‘Now more than ever we must stay connected, be sensitive and care for those around us, people close by may be suffering in silence, domestic abuse may be happening on a subtle or extreme level, none of it is acceptable-abuse is abuse and it must stop.
‘When people have reached in to me it has given me back my faith and strength to act on the life affirming changes I needed to make, and to thrive on the other side.
‘This pandemic has proved how interdependent we are, picking up on someone’s energy and state of mind is our humanity calling, you’re reaching in could save a life. Be brave, Reach in.’
Notes to editors
We are SafeLives, the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.
We work with organisations across the UK to transform the response to domestic abuse. We want what you would want for your best friend. We listen to survivors, putting their voices at the heart of our thinking. We look at the whole picture for each individual and family to get the right help at the right time to make families everywhere safe and well. And we challenge perpetrators to change, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ rather than ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This principle applies whatever the sex of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship.
Last year alone, nearly 11,000 professionals working on the frontline received our training. Over 65,000 adults at risk of serious harm or murder and more than 85,000 children received support through dedicated multi-agency support designed by us and delivered with partners. In the last three years, nearly 1,000 perpetrators have been challenged and supported to change by interventions we created with partners, and that's just the start.