Published on 29th May 2020

Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has awarded a grant to a domestic abuse charity to help victims of the crime stay in touch during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Warrington Women’s Aid were successful in their application to PCC David Keane’s Safer Communities Express Grants fund which is supporting community organisations to respond to the pandemic by taking money from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and reinvesting it into local communities.

The charity has been awarded £987 to purchase tablets to help the 13 residents in their Warrington Refuge stay in touch with their family and friends and access essential services like online banking and online fitness programmes while in isolation.

The devices will also be used to help the 10 children living in the refuge to complete school work and virtually contact their friends which will help them both educationally and recreationally.

Sally Starky, chief officer of Warrington Women’s Aid, said: “These simple electronic devices would prove incredibly beneficial to both the adults and children in terms of supporting their positive mental health, reducing their feelings of isolation and vulnerability, helping to ease their anxieties and benefitting both educationally and recreationally whilst allowing them to take back a small element of control over their day- to-day lives.

“Both clients and children will benefit greatly from being able to communicate more readily with family and friends at all times. This will support and strengthen their emotional well-being leading to an improvement in their positive mental health at a time when they need that support more than ever.

PCC David Keane added: “Domestic abuse is a hidden crime which is becoming more prevalent as people are trapped at home with abusive partners.

“Refuges provide a sanctuary for victims to escape abuse at home but it’s also important that residents don’t feel isolated from the outside world when living in a refuge.

“This grant will keep those suffering from domestic abuse stay virtually connected to their loved ones at a time they are unable to physically contact them.”

The Commissioner has also recently launched a campaign in partnership with the Chief Constable which encourages those suffering from domestic abuse and their friends and families to seek support.

The Open the Door campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue whilst showing people how to recognise the signs, know what to do and have the confidence to take action.

You can find out how to access local domestic abuse services in your area by visiting https://www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk/

If you need support and advice, you can also call Cheshire Police on 101 or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, where there is a threat to life or a crime is taking place, please call 999.