Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, has launched a new 24 hour online platform to provide constant support to survivors. 

The charity already runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but many survivors may not be able to use the phone if they are in danger. 

The digital service is designed to support the existing phone service and offer a more discreet alternative to those who need help. 

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The online version of the NDAH features a web-contact form which also enables survivors to pre-book the best time for Refuge workers to contact them, in order to reduce the risk of reaching out. 

It is available in a variety of languages, and provides “wraparound” information and support from those suffering from domestic abuse on topics such as how to take the first steps to safety, options for housing and child contact.

Refuge developed the new service after consultation with women who had previously accessed support for domestic abuse.

 

“Refuge is delighted to launch this life saving service today, ensuring we can provide support to more women than ever before,” said Sandra Horley, Chief Executive of Refuge. 

“Survivors often have only minutes in which to access the information they need. We have ensured that this new website provides vital information as clearly and [as accessible] as is possible.

“Women are not alone. We will always stand beside survivors of domestic abuse and make sure they receive help and support.“

In September, the number of domestic violence killings reached a five year high, with the vast majority of victims being women. 

Around three women a week in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner, according to Refuge

Women are also more likely than men to experience non-physical domestic abuse, such as emotional or financial control, according to ONS statistics from March 2018.

Earlier in 2019, campaigners also accused police forces of falling short in protecting victims of domestic abuse due to “systematic failures”, with the Centre for Women’s Justice lodging a “super complaint” with a national watchdog. 

Last week it was reported that police referrals of domestic abuse cases to the Crown Prosecution Service related to domestic abuse had fallen by 11 per cent, despite a rise of 24 per cent of the abuse itself. 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please visit Refuge UK or call the Freephone 24 National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247).

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