CamdenNewJournal

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‘High risk’ domestic abuse cases have risen during lockdown, warns charity

"Women aren’t speaking out until it gets so bad that they can’t take anymore"

16 July, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

BAME women’s organisation Hopscotch say they are “very worried” about women

A LEADING women’s charity has warned of the number of “high risk” domestic abuse cases they have seen since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Hopscotch, which supports Black and Asian Ethnic Minority women and runs an Asian Women’s Centre in Hampstead Road, Euston, believes the scale of the incidents they are dealing with suggests a difficulty in accessing services during the pandemic.

Benaifer Bhandari, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We’re seeing a lot of really high-risk cases coming in, which is not what it was like pre-Covid.

“It means women aren’t speaking out until it gets so bad that they can’t take anymore. It’s very, very worrying.”

She added:“What is also worrying is we’re not seeing a lot of the women that we know about and used to regularly use our service, so we’re constantly thinking where are these women? And what’s happening to them?”

Isabelle Terrisson, head of programmes at Hopscotch, said: “Covid has brought with it challenges but we are still here and we’ve been using all available technology to talk to women and give advice.

“At the beginning of the lockdown we anticipated a rise in domestic abuse cases which happened but they were more severe than we expected.

“Most recently, we had a woman who was forced out of her home and was on the street with her three children with nowhere to go. We worked to get her emergency accommodation and signposted her to services.

“We want women or men facing abuse to know that we are still here for them at whatever stage they are at. They may not be thinking of leaving but have started to feel scared and just want to know their options or talk to someone, we are here for that.”

The team run a specialist domestic violence advocacy programme as well as youth groups, employability projects and an older person advocacy service.

They also run a culturally appropriate and multilingual home care service and are currently looking for care workers who want to join their team.

But like a number of organisations in Camden, Hopscotch has been hit financially by the pandemic and is looking to rent out parts of their refurbished offices to a female practitioner, possibly a therapist. Anyone interested is asked to get in touch.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and want to contact Hopscotch, you can email: dv@hopscotchawc.org.uk or by visiting their website.

You can also call the council’s Camden Safety Net team on 0207 974 2526.

In an emergency, always call 999. If they fear being overheard by an abuser press 55 and stay silent.

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