ORGANISATIONS across Dorset, including the police, are raising awareness around domestic abuse amid concerns it may increase due to the impact of coronavirus.

A new campaign will highlight the fact that whatever type of abuse takes place – whether it is physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial – the abuser is trying to control the victim and uses abuse or violence to achieve that control. It will also tell victims how to access help and support.

The campaign, being launched digitally, aims both to raise awareness that domestic abuse may increase with people self-isolating, and to provide reassurance that help is available during these unprecedented times.

Superintendent Gemma Morris of Dorset Police said: “Sadly, Covid-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse and the cycle of violence may intensify with people having to isolate themselves, and those who may be experiencing it may be unsure how to access support.

“We are committed to the safety of children and families experiencing domestic abuse and it is important that victims know how and where to get advice and support.”

The police and crime commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said: “We’re in an unprecedented situation and we have to prepare for all eventualities, which unfortunately includes the possibility that a period of mass isolation means we’ll see an increase in cases of domestic abuse.

“Sadly, some children could be safer when they attend school regularly, as teachers are able to spot signs that something might be wrong at home and report this to the authorities.

“I want to reassure victims that despite the current uncertainty, support is still available for them and they don’t need to wait for lockdown or self-isolation to end before they get help.

“Remember, domestic abuse doesn’t just mean violence – it also includes the new offences of coercive and controlling behaviour in which perpetrators psychologically manipulate their victims. If you’re experiencing any form of abuse you do not have to put up with it, and even if you don’t want to report it to the police there is a wide range of support available to you, such as the victim support live chat service.”