DOMESTIC abuse charity IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services), which works across the county, says it is determined to keep its refuges and helpline open while the country is in lockdown through coronavirus.

Chief executive Sarah Hill said: “We are really worried about the risks of people being isolated with abusive people whose behaviour may escalate due to increasing uncertainty, pressure on finances and cramped conditions.

“Many people who face controlling, violent or abusive behaviour from a partner or family member are likely to be feeling very scared about being isolated with them for long periods of time.

“We want them to know that there is support available.

“Over the next few months, we will work creatively and flexibly to provide vital services in very difficult circumstances. We are immensely proud of our teams who are pulling together during this difficult time to ensure that there is a way for people to get help is they are afraid of their partner or concerned for someone they know.”

Last year IDAS received over 14,000 calls to its helpline and supported over 7,000 people.

It supports anyone affected by domestic abuse, providing lifesaving support including refuge accommodation, outreach services and a helpline. As a result of the latest advice from government, many of its teams will need to work differently and, in response, is developing new ways to support people affected by abuse. These are being provided through support through online video support sessions, WhatsApp messaging, telephone calls, online live chat on its website and email

IDAS provides the following advice for friends, neighbours or family members concerned about someone they know:

Check in with them regularly, if it is safe to do so and ask if there is anything that you can look out for that might indicate they need help.

Call the police if you hear or see anything that could indicate a potential risk.

If you are facing isolation with an abusive person, IDAS offer some safety planning advice on their website. In addition, you could consider the following: Get a spare phone and store emergency contact numbers in it and hide it in a safe place or with a trusted person. Keep your ID documents, emergency funds, bank cards and children’s birth certificates to hand.

In addition, speak to your neighbours and ask them to ring the police if they hear or see anything and set up safe words with friends so they know to call for help on your behalf.

For further advice go to the website: