Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation, Bridging the Gap and Foundation Living

Leeds Rhinos legend throws weight behind #NoExcuseForAbuse campaign in Lockdown 3

As the country moves into its third lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan is backing Inspire North’s campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the very real dangers posed to victims during lockdown.

Former Great Britain RL player Jamie, who is now assistant coach of Leeds Rhinos, has teamed up with the charity to drive home important safety messages to victims, neighbours and employers.

He was inspired to get involved with the campaign following the death of his cousin, Bethany Fields, aged 21, who was killed by her former boyfriend in 2019 after she ended their relationship.

Jamie said: “It’s everyone’s responsibility to speak out and alert the authorities if they suspect someone is being abused. The new lockdown has left some people trapped at home with their abuser. Without the respite of being able to leave the house and go to work or see friends, abusive partners have more control including the ability to monitor text messages, emails and phone calls.

“I am championing Inspire North’s #NoExcuseForAbuse campaign to help spread the message that support is available if you are someone who is being abused right now, or if you know someone you think might be in danger of domestic abuse. No one needs to suffer in silence through this next lockdown.”

Inspire North provides support for people affected by domestic abuse and mental health issues across the North of England. Our domestic abuse refuge in the North East of England for victims and their children is currently full to capacity after independent domestic violence adviser (IDVA) referrals rose by 21% between October and December 2020.

Sinead Cregan, Director of Development and Innovation, said: “The sharp increase in IDVA referrals over the Christmas period is very concerning, and this was before the third national lockdown was announced, and we expect to see referral numbers increase further over the coming weeks and months.

“Domestic homicides more than doubled in the first three weeks of the first lockdown. Our major concern is not only that the lockdown is keeping victims trapped at home with the person that is abusing them, but also that it is keeping them trapped for longer periods of time.

“We are asking all neighbours, friends, family and employers to please look out for the signs of domestic abuse. Friends and family – have you noticed behavioural changes in someone? Employers – does a member of your team seem more nervous when on an online video call to you? If you suspect something is wrong, and only if it is safe to do so, please open up the conversation by asking how they are and how things are at home.

“If you are a relative, friend or neighbour and suspect someone is at risk, stay safe yourself and call the police. If you are experiencing abuse yourself or you are in immediate danger of abuse, call 999, remain silent and press 55 when the operator asks you to. This will let them know you are in immediate danger and help will be despatched to you.”

The Gov.UK website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help contains advice on how to recognise the different types of abuse that can occur, how to report it and how to access support services that can help, whether you are a concerned neighbour or friend, a victim, or if you feel you may be an abuser.

For further information please contact PR consultants to Inspire North Melanie Hill (mel@gravitypr.co.uk/07527 847423) or Alex Mason (alex@alexdmasonpr.com/07983726119)