Our Domestic Abuse Webinar
was the first of our Hidden in Plain Sight Webinars that bring together local people and voluntary sector experts to share the insights from organisations that are now facing a surge in demand for their services.
What we heard
Coronavirus has raised public consciousness of the extreme fear and harm that survivors, both adults and children, are suffering all across the country. This damage is long-lasting and it’s important to understand that abuse doesn’t end when a relationship ends, the harm continues, and support is vital to a person’s safety and recovery.
In Surrey, we know that there are an estimated 35,400 victims of abuse, with 3,300 children visible to services as living in homes where there is domestic abuse.
Each year there are over 1 million calls to police in England and Wales about domestic abuse, and on average someone contacts the police every 30 seconds for help with domestic abuse.
Since lockdown has lifted, the number of people calling Surrey Police for help has increased, with an 8% rise in the number of incidents being reported and on average, Surrey Police will record 28 domestic abuse crimes every day.
Sadly, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as we know that less than 1 in 4 victims (and worryingly, this is reducing) report to the police.
Accessible, independent, specialist services embedded in the community are fundamental to getting people to safety as quickly as possible.
In Surrey, our vision is for every adult and child experiencing domestic abuse to be seen, safe and heard, and free from the harm caused by perpetrator behaviour.
More data and insights on domestic abuse can be found on our webpage here.
East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services is a lead provider of Surrey-wide specialist Domestic Abuse support services.
Q. Have you seen an increase in cases since the pandemic began?
A. Yes, the number of referrals has increased dramatically from this time last year – 100% up each month compared to last year.
We are now having to find the necessary resources to manage a 40% plus uplift in demand.
The predictions around increases in domestic abuse incidents and homicide are stark, but it is important to note that the pandemic, lockdown and the socio-economic consequences of these events do not cause domestic abuse, but they have highlighted the prevalence. As restrictions are further lifted, we are likely to see incidents increase and domestic abuse murders as survivors attempt to leave relationships and perpetrators lose control.
Q. What are the top 3 issues that can be addressed now and have most impact if funding was available?
A. More understanding of the long-term impact of domestic abuse – more funding for specialist services to support survivors beyond being safe to enable people to recover and rebuild their lives, which can take many years.
More therapeutic support for children affected by domestic abuse.
Greater public awareness and recognition of domestic abuse.
The Community Foundation for Surrey is a long-term supporter of Surrey-based specialist domestic abuse support provider charities.
Currently these services are in need of significant uplift in funding to meet the increased demand.
“The issues are difficult – and the challenge to address them may appear insurmountable. However, we know that when people come together, it can make a real difference. We know that there are many generous people within our county who want to help.
Together we can provide the help that is needed across Surrey – bringing hope to the lives of local people; and positive change for all communities.”
– Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive, Community Foundation for Surrey
Thank you to our inspiring speakers
- Kerry, Domestic Abuse Survivor and Campaigner who works with other survivors nationally to bring about positive change.
- Michelle Blunsom MBE, Chief Executive, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services
Michelle has worked for over 17 years supporting thousands of victims of domestic abuse and their families from across Surrey. As the lead provider for Surrey Outreach services, she is responsible for making sure survivors have access to advice and support in order to break the cycle of abuse and help to rebuild their lives. Michelle has worked closely with Surrey Police to train officers and staff in using legislation to tackle domestic abuse, and has been very influential in improving victim care and procedures that are widely used.
- Lisa Herrington, Head of Policy and Commissioning, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
Lisa is Head of Policy and Commissioning for Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro. She leads the PCC’s commissioning strategy and heads up a team focused on the policy areas of criminal justice, community safety and victims of crime.
Having worked in policing for nearly 16 years, she has a broad range of experience at both a local and national level, including leading the communication of major organisational change. Throughout Lisa’s career with the OPCC, she has used her knowledge and skill as a communicator to secure significant additional funding from central government for specialist victim services in Surrey, including for those affected by domestic abuse.
If you, or someone you know, has been affected by domestic abuse, please be assured help is available.
Contact the Surrey-wide Domestic Abuse helpline (available 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm) on 01483 776822 who can provide support and information to survivors, concerned friends/family members or professionals. An online chat service is also available at: www.yoursanctuary.org.uk
If you are worried that you may be using unhealthy and/or harmful strategies in your own relationship, contact Respect on 0808 8024040.
If you would like to report a crime, but do want to go to the police for whatever reason then please contact registered charity, Crimestoppers.
0800555 111 or via their on-line form
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