Vital support is still available in Sussex
Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, says support services for all victims of crime are still available across Sussex despite the Coronavirus ‘lockdown’.
Mrs Bourne and the support services commissioned through her office are concerned that many are feeling trapped at home, too scared to reach out for help at this time or that they may not be aware that support is still available. Sussex Police are already preparing for an influx in reports once ‘lockdown’ restrictions are relaxed and victims who may be living with their perpetrators have more freedom of movement.
Although face-to-face support in people’s homes and community settings has been temporarily suspended in line with the current Government guidelines, support services across Sussex still have staff working remotely to ensure victims continue to receive the support they need.
Phone helplines and online chat functions continue to operate as usual and many have video counselling facilities.
Refuges across Sussex are also still open, so those feeling trapped in abusive relationships with nowhere else to go can still reach out for help.
RISE is a charity in Brighton that provides crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic abuse. Wook Hamilton, their Head of Client Services said: “We are still taking referrals into our refuge, as well as supporting the women and families still living there. We are aware of how difficult it is for any victim of domestic abuse at this time and our helpline and main case work services remain open.
“Call our helpline on 03003239985 for access to support from specialist domestic abuse services in Brighton or East Sussex.”
Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “While we are all deeply affected by this ongoing pandemic, those who have, or are still experiencing crime can find themselves in a heightened state of anxiety and distress at this time.
“We recognise that those experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence or exploitation in their home environment may feel trapped and I don’t want anyone in Sussex feeling like they have no-one to turn to.
“It’s now more important than ever that people who feel threatened and vulnerable have someone they can reach out to, who will listen and help them. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that critical and confidential help remains available.
“We are also preparing for an increase in reports for when ‘lockdown’ regulations are relaxed as victims will have more freedom of movement and there may will be an increase in third-party reporting too as a result of this.
“Please reach out if you need to. You can find all the details of the many different types of specialist support available now at www.safespacesussex.org.uk
“Also, if you find yourself in an emergency where you think you or others may be in immediate danger dial 999. Sussex Police are always there for you when you need them. Don’t suffer in silence.”
Safe Space Sussex is an online directory of all local support services. You can search for services via crime type or find a service close to you by entering your postcode.
Anyone wishing to access victim support can call the local team in Sussex on 0808 1689 274. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
If you need support outside of these hours, call their Supportline for free on 0808 1689 111.