The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the COVID 19 lockdown, it received hundreds more calls in the first week compared to two weeks earlier and has continued to do so.
The Home Office has advised after a deep dive of National helpline calls that most victims are women calling to find out how to leave after lockdown therefore we could experience a spike in Essex during the loosening of the restrictions.
Safer Places have secured funding via the Office of the Police and Fire commissioner for Essex to provide a means of disclosure for victims of Domestic Abuse in 20 towns across Essex.
The Ask for “J” campaign will run alongside the main J9 objective in Essex but will be focused on businesses, retail and other outlets that victims visit, the “Ask for J” campaign will ensure victims of DA have a place to find help and survive not only during loosening of COVID 19 restrictions but the abuse that they and their families may be experiencing in the future as an ongoing initiative.
Using the “Ask for J” code word in hairdressers, beauticians, nurseries, vets, supermarkets, pharmacies, food banks for example will give victims of domestic abuse access to resources to make decisions or a safe place to make a call to a support agency, Police or family member for example.
There will be two options for individuals asking for J:
1.When “asking for J” staff to ask “do you need to speak to J right now”, this is code that they are in immediate danger and need support right now. The individual is to then be taken into private room at the back of the shop and support will be offered via J9 resources and include help with calling the police, a local support service or their friends and family.
If they don’t need to “speak to J” right away, they will be offered a coupon (this coupon will say “20% off hair products, log online via the link to receive your code”, the link will direct them to a website with resources including safety planning etc. The coupons will feature the J9 logo and have the COMPASS number and also Safer Places 24/7 emergency number so clients will remember what the coupon is for.
This gives the individual an opportunity to look into this in their own time and make decisions.
“Ask for J” training The “Ask for J” 15 min training sessions will be delivered by Safer Places via a pre-recorded video link and are intended to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse for staff in public and voluntary sector organisations. The training aims to ensure that staff is equipped to respond and refer. During training a Safer Places facilitator will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns. Information Pack The information pack are the main J9 information guides and are intended to be used to give options and answer questions to signpost victims of domestic abuse to the support services they need or want at the time of asking for J.
Communications Public facing communication via local facebook groups, newspaper, and local authority newsletters is imperative to allow victims to recognise the J9 sign and know this is a place of safety to disclose. Each business or organisation taking part will have posters within to also signpost to this campaign. We will need your help in each district to ensure we can reach maximum exposure to businesses getting involved and victims to become aware.
If you would like to get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.