A HEXHAM-BASED group which supports the victims of domestic abuse is continuing to offer support during the coronavirus crisis, amid reports by the charity Refuge of a 25 per cent increase in people asking for help.

Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services (NDAS) has dropped face-to-face contact, but will support residents by phone and online.

Service manager Karen Richardson said: “At this time, we are continuing to provide support to victims of abuse living in Northumberland by telephone, WhatsApp, email, etc; the method is determined by the service user.

“We are supporting children via the non-abusive parent, providing them with understanding of the effects of abuse on children and giving them tips and information to allow them to support their children.

“Older children with capacity and consent can receive support if they want to talk.

“We have concerns around social isolation, with those living with abuse ‘trapped’ at home, with added stresses with children at home, potentially exposing them to more abuse.

“An additional huge concern is that those living with abuse can no longer access support as the offender is with them 24/7.”

Victims of abuse can call (01434) 608030 between 10am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, they can access support on NDAS’s website.

Northumbria Police has also emphasised that help and support is available.

Detective Superintendent Deborah Alderson, of the safeguarding department, said: “We know that home is not a safe place for those experiencing domestic abuse and the much-needed respite often provided by work and school may no longer be available.

“If your home is not a safe environment then we urge you to seek support, to contact police.

“We will do everything we can.”