A BRADFORD service is warning of a potential increase in domestic abuse and sexual violence during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Survive and Thrive Partnership, which brings Staying Put, Family Action and Women Centre together fears the current situation may make victims more frightened to speak out or unable to access support.

It is urging people to call for help if they need it – and is preparing for a surge in demand for services once the lockdown is over.

The Staying Put Freephone helpline is still open, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, on 0808 2800 999.

The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline is open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Anyone who feels they, or another member of the family, are in immediate danger should call the police on 999

Yasmin Khan, CEO of Staying Put, said: “We know this is an extremely stressful time for all families, and that is likely to lead to an increase in abuse within the home.

“We would like all domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors to know that there is still help available – our One Front Door helpline is still running, the national helpline is still running, and people should still call 999 if they, or someone else, is in danger.

“We would also urge people to keep an eye out for their friends and neighbours in this difficult time, and call us if they have concerns.

“All agencies in our partnership are preparing for a surge in demand for our services when the lockdown is over, and we are preparing a group of volunteers to be trained to assist us deal with the volume.

“In the meantime, if anyone wishes to help, please donate to Staying Put at www.stayingput.uk.net/donate - this will help us to continue to run our services and prepare for the increase in reaching our most vulnerable people during this crisis.”

One survivor, currently living in a refuge with her two children, said: “I think it will be really difficult for people in abusive situations at the moment – I’m so glad I’m out of that situation.

“If you’ve got kids as well, and everyone is stuck at home, it can become quite fraught because they’re bored.

“It could play into the hands of abusers as well because they’ve got you where they want you.

“It will also add to people’s feelings of isolation.

“I can imagine if you can’t go to the shops or to work, there is no escape. It’s the worst thing that could happen for a lot of people.”

All services provided by the Bradford Survive and Thrive Partnership are still fully accessible. Most are operated over the phone and via email, except for refuges, which are also still staffed and running, with social distancing in place according to Government guidelines. Crisis support is available for children and young people as well as adults.

Affordable Legal Services at Staying Put is also still operational.

Anyone in need of expert, specialist legal advice can call the Freephone number 0800 077 3065 or email alsenquiries@als-sp.co.uk.

For more information on the services provided by Staying Put, go to www.stayingput.uk.net