‘DON’T suffer behind closed doors’ – with this message, Somerset County Council would like to make it clear that support is, and will continue to be, available for people experiencing domestic abuse during the current coronavirus restrictions.

The council’s domestic abuse campaign, #NoClosedDoorsEver, is spreading the message that restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, such as home working and less socialising, may heighten domestic tensions and increase domestic abuse – for some people home is not always the safe place it should be.

Whilst it is still essential to work at home if you can, the government acknowledges that the advice to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing domestic abuse.

Local support services and the police remain and will be available to support people experiencing any type of domestic abuse.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council member for health and wellbeing, said: “Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses people are under – there is no excuse for abuse.”

“I urge anyone who is experiencing any type of domestic abuse to seek help – support is, and will always, be available.”

The council’s domestic abuse service, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS), has robust business continuity plans in place which will ensure that they continue to operate during the current restrictions and beyond.

The service works with men, women, and children affected by domestic abuse, and who need the specialist support that SIDAS offers.

A range of services are available through SIDAS including safe emergency accommodation, outreach support and a local helpline.

All these are delivered by a highly experienced and qualified team which is following Government guidance for keeping those experiencing domestic abuse safe in these unprecedented times.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, then help is available: www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 69 49 999.

In an emergency, people should always dial 999, if you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone, and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired you can register with emergencySMS.net, once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.

Please help make a difference – spread the word about our campaign to help people who are being abused behind closed doors – search #NoClosedDoorsEver on Google and repost/retweet the messages and articles on your social media accounts.

You could help someone to get the support they urgently need.