Published on 12th May 2020

Victims of domestic abuse were reminded that they are not alone during the coronavirus crisis in a live web chat hosted by Cheshire Police last week (Wednesday 6 May).

Police officers, alongside representatives from Cheshire Fire and domestic abuse agencies across the county were encouraged by the response and will be holding a second web chat on Wednesday 13 May at 4pm.

In the first online event, anyone with questions or worries was able to submit their concerns (anonymously) about their situation, as were family members or friends who were able to find out what they should do if concerned about loved ones, all receiving answers relevant to where they live.

Questions asked included how to report domestic abuse, worries about the longer term effects on children, what constitutes controlling and coercive behaviour, BAME concerns and the fear of reprisals if reporting a spouse or partner.

Detective Chief Superintendent Denise Worth said:

“We, along with colleagues from domestic abuse agencies and Cheshire Fire, found the first web chat incredibly useful as an additional pathway in our drive to tackle domestic abuse, which is a priority for Cheshire Constabulary. I hope it also adds to the reassurance that we are still here responding to incidents and are all working together to do everything we can to protect those most in need.

“In this current situation it is vital that victims of domestic abuse know how and where to access support which is why we are doing everything we can to make sure that there are a number of channels of communication available to those who need it. Our message is simple – you are not alone – and this online session is one of many ways that you can seek help and advice during this difficult time.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane added:

“This is an extremely difficult time for anyone who is victim to domestic abuse as they are trapped at home with abusive partners with limited ways to seek support.

“The web chats provide a safe and secure outlet for people to get in touch with police and support services to get vital advice about how to stay safe.

“Domestic abuse doesn’t have to stay behind closed doors. Cheshire’s Open the Door is there to help people get the help they need and to bring this hidden crime out into the open.”

Anyone suffering in silence behind closed doors or family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues with concerns about someone they know is urged to take part in the second of a series of live web chats this week, on Wednesday 13 May at 4pm.

Cheshire’s web chat is a virtual chat during which police, fire and safeguarding experts will work together to answer any questions on the force’s Facebook page.

Those who would like to submit a question has the option of sending one in in advance by e-mailing digital.team@cheshire.pnn.police.uk, sending a private message to us during the session if they wish to remain anonymous, or simply posting a question to the Q&A post on the Cheshire Police Facebook page. Steps are taken to ensure anonymity for anyone submitting questions either in advance or during the web chat.