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COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) would like to remind communities that they are still there for victims of crime, including those who have been affected by domestic abuse.
As we all spent an increased amount of time at home due to lockdown restrictions, and the increased pressures COVID put on our communities; concerns remain around the risks of domestic abuse happening behind closed doors, and for some there is no way out.
In addition, face-to-face contact became extremely limited and support that was available was potentially inaccessible for many.
As we are now able to spend more time with family and friends, GMP is urging everyone to look out for the signs of domestic abuse and coercive control. If you are worried about someone you know, you could be the voice of that victim, especially for those who have been trapped at home with their abuser.
It is also important to highlight the risks for those separating from an abusive relationship, as the threat level to a victim can remain high, if not increase in certain circumstances. Not only can the perpetrator prove a risk, with heightened emotions following a separation, it can be difficult for victims to come to terms with the abuse they have faced, and think about life ahead.
No matter when incidents of domestic abuse have taken place, reports should still be made, and help is available to anyone affected by this type of crime.
Detective Superintendent Gwyn Dodd said: “We know that COVID-19 has, and continues to be an extremely challenging situation for everyone.
"Lockdown meant that our communities had to face a rapidly changing environment, which brought with it many challenges, and whilst restrictions have eased - we know that this could highlight further issues that maybe weren't highlighted during lockdown.
“Domestic abuse remains one of the highest priorities for GMP, and we continue to adapt our resources and approaches to ensure we are playing our part in protecting the vulnerable members of society.
"We would like to remind our local communities that we are here for you, whether you have been a victim, or affected in any way by domestic abuse. If you've been talking to a friend or family member and you're concerned about their time at home during lockdown, please get in touch.
“We closely review incidents of domestic abuse to ascertain the impact of COVID-19, and would like to remind everyone the support is very much available for anyone who may need it, whether this is from us or other support services, both locally in Greater Manchester and UK-wide
“If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned about someone you know, please use our online reporting facility, or LiveChat on our website, or dial 101. In an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, always dial 999.
"Alternatively, Greater Manchester Victims’ Services can provide independent emotional and practical support for anyone affected by crime. You can contact the service by visiting the website on https://www.gmvictims.org.uk/ or calling 0161 200 1950."
Every month, GMP hosts an anonymous DA Q&A alongside partners and if you have any questions or concerns, we'd encourage you to join where you will be able to access direct support from specialist teams both within GMP and external support services. The next chat will be held on Thursday 24 June, between 6-8pm, and all questions can be submitted anonymously.
Further information on this will be posted in due course via the Greater Manchester Police Facebook page.