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‘You can still flee during lockdown’ commissioner tells abuse victims as Chancellor announces £19m of additional funding

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has reminded victims of their freedom to seek refuge during lockdown as she welcomed today’s Budget announcement that a further £19m would be made available to help them.

Services for people who have experienced domestic abuse have reported soaring demand during coronavirus lockdown which has often trapped those affected by the crime with perpetrators.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said £15m will be made available for schemes which attempt to stop perpetrators of domestic abuse from harming their victims while an extra £4m will help homeless women who have suffered from domestic abuse get specialist help in respite rooms.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez commissioned additional services for at the start of the first lockdown for victims of crime in the Devon and Cornwall Police force area.

These included a 24-hour Victim Support live webchat service and a helpline for teachers who were dealing with childhood trauma caused by domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse can take many forms and the trauma and distress is causes cannot be underestimated,” she said.

“As commissioner of victims’ services in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly those men, women and children affected by it have been at the forefront of my mind throughout the pandemic.

“I hope this additional funding reassures them that there the funding and services are in place to help perpetrators and victims. We just need them to reach out to us. It is important to remember that while the advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge.”

Domestic abuse is a crime and should be reported to police via the 101 webchat, email or telephone services, or 999 in an emergency. Residents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly affected by crime can receive practical and emotional support from the Victim Care Unit on 01392 475900 or online at victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk whether or not a crime has been reported. Victim Support can be reached by calling 08081689111 or online at www.victimsupport.org.uk.