New ways to access domestic abuse support

July 8th, 2020 by

Safer Futures, a domestic abuse and sexual violence support and recovery service provided by First Light in partnership with Barnardos have launched a Live Web Chat on the saferfutures.org.uk website.

Safer Futures offer a range of support options for both those experiencing domestic abuse and those engaging in abusive behaviour. Support has been available throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and they have launched live web chat as another way for people to access support.

The Live Web Chat is available Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00.

 

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LGBT+ People: Share How Coronavirus Has Affected You

June 12th, 2020 by

Intercom Trust and Manchester LGBT Foundation are working in partnership with this important survey.

 

Survey

 

This survey is being carried out to help us identify how LGBT+ communities in the South West are being affected by the current coronavirus crisis and will help to shape the support that is being provided. Information you choose to share with us may be used in policy documents which will be publicised. However you will not be identified by anything we include. All questions are optional. This survey should only take 10 minutes.

Please note this survey is for South West residents only. If you’re from any other area in the UK, please follow this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/covid19impactLGBT. If you have already answered LGBT Foundation’s survey on the impact of coronavirus please do not answer either survey.

If you have any questions regarding this survey or would like to provide any further feedback please email office@intercomtrust.org.uk

Support:

Please note that survey responses won’t be analysed or looked at until after the closure of the survey, and that if anyone needs urgent support to please call our helpline for immediate help as we recognise some of the questions are sensitive and may flag up immediate issues.

For advice and support call the Intercom Trust helpline 0800 612 3010 or you can email helpline@intercomtrust.org.uk and one of our team will get back to you shortly.

For more information on how Intercom Trust can help you during this time, please visit: https://www.intercomtrust.org.uk/item/214-we-are-here-for-you

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Free drinksmeter app can help residents manage concerns around increased home drinking during lockdown stress

June 11th, 2020 by

For those concerned that they might be drinking more alcohol than usual or are finding it a struggle to keep the amount they drink under control during Covid lockdown, Safer Cornwall would urge residents to download the free drinksmeter app to their phones.

The easy to use app is available through the Safer Cornwall website or via the drinksmeter.com website. It is designed to help those who feel they may be at risk of damaging their health through excess drinking to manage and monitor their home drinking habits.

Drinksmeter has already been downloaded by hundreds of residents in Cornwall and is highlighted in Safer Cornwall’s ‘Lockdown Home Drinking’ campaign.

This has been launched following a national YouGov poll which revealed that 20 per cent of the 4,000 adults taking part reported they’d been drinking more alcohol than normal since the country went into Covid-19 lockdown. Added to this, there has also been a reported spike in the sale of wine, spirits and beer.

The drinksmeter app can be downloaded for free to a phone or accessed online via the drinksmeter.com website. It helps keep track of how much you are drinking in relation to the recommended amount, which is no more than 14 units a week. This equates to seven double shots of spirits, five average size glasses of wine or six pints of average strength beer/lager/cider.

It also lets you set your own goals and can even work out how much money you could save if you reduce the amount you’re drinking.  It also gives the details of local contacts if you need to speak to someone for advice or support.

Sally Hawken, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for children, wellbeing and public health said: “It is often so difficult at times like these to cope and manage levels of stress and anxiety.  It is so easy to just pour another drink in the hope it will make us feel better. ‘Lockdown Home Drinking’ aims to alert us all to the many serious health issues that can result from drinking more alcohol than we might do normally.

“Too much is bad for the body in so many ways and can also put an added strain on our health services during this unprecedented crisis.

“The drinksmeter app certainly puts into perspective how alcohol you are drinking, and then helps you to personally manage it before it gets out of hand.

“This is why I would urge anyone who might be concerned that they are consuming more than usual during the pandemic, to make full use of this really helpful and potentially life-saving resource.”

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Safer Cornwall reminds communities to support each other during pandemic

May 5th, 2020 by

Safer Cornwall is calling on residents to support each other during the pandemic and avoid confrontations over social distancing.

The partnership, made up of Cornwall CouncilDevon and Cornwall Police and other agencies, has received reports of verbal abuse, abuse on social media, and criminal damage to personal property as a result of people being mistaken for breaking social distancing rules.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team have warned that they will not tolerate behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress and will take action against those responsible.

Safer Cornwall strongly discourages anyone from approaching another person to confront them about social distancing, or if they have concerns that a business is open that should not be.

Instead, the partnership is reminding residents to treat one another with respect at this difficult time and to report their concerns to the correct agencies so they can carry out the appropriate investigations.

Anyone concerned about social gathering should contact the Police by calling 101 or email 101@dc.police.uk and call 999 in an emergency.

If a business is suspected of flouting closure orders reports should be made to Cornwall Council on 0300 123 1118 or by emailing covid19@cornwall.gov.uk.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for environment and public protection, said: “It is with sadness that we have received reports of families being targeted online and face-to-face about not following social distancing guidelines, when the perception may be wrong.

“We have seen second homeowners and businesses put themselves forward to offer accommodation for key workers and local families, who need this vital accommodation, to maintain the work commitments that allow them to keep their families safe.

“Please do not assume that anyone in a motorhome, holiday home or driving is breaking the social distancing guidelines. Continue to be compassionate and understand that where applicable that Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police will undertake the enforcement needed.”

Simon Mould, Cornwall Council’s Head of Communities, said: “We continue to see amazing support across all of our communities where those most vulnerable are being supported by voluntary groups and individuals giving what they can to help those most in need. We ask that residents show compassion and understanding during this difficult time.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We have seen over the Easter holidays that communities are following the social gathering restrictions and only in limited cases have we had to respond and enforce against large groups gathering.

“We are however seeing an increase in neighbour nuisance and reports of non-compliance. If you are experiencing any form of hate crime or harassment please report this to us so that we can take action to support you.”

If you are being targeted and experiencing any form of alarm, harassment or distress please report this to the police by calling 101 or email 101@dc.police.uk and call 999 in an emergency.


For more information on support during the pandemic see our Covid-19 and community safety page

 

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Finding drug packets in West Cornwall

April 21st, 2020 by

Following a number of findings of similar drugs packets, a high number of used and partially used packets of Clonazepam tablets have been found in a cemetary in West Cornwall. It is a known site for young people to congregate so YZUP have issued the below information around use of Clonazepam which will be included on their social media pages.

 

 

 

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Lockdown Home Drinking: 5. What to do if you struggle to cut down

April 16th, 2020 by

Higher Risk drinking is scored at 16 or above on the AUDIT checklist in the Drinksmeter app, but an even higher score of over 20 could indicate some degree of alcohol dependence. It’s possible to become dependent on alcohol without realising. This would make reducing drinking more difficult, and needs to be done very carefully.

Depending on the level of dependence, someone reducing their drinking may start to experience withdrawal symptoms. To keep the process as safe as possible, services that help people with this process recommend reducing slowly, starting with keeping a diary to record what you normally drink. This can be done with the help of the Drinksmeter app, but don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice too.

At this lockdown moment, when getting out to see and talk to someone about your drinking is impossible, the Drinksmeter is a perfect self-monitoring tool. For most people it’s all that’s needed, but if you find you need to talk to someone for advice, the right contact details are within the app, based on the region where you live.

In Cornwall, the alcohol support service is provided by ‘We Are With You’, who you may have heard of before as ‘Addaction Cornwall.’ Their contact details are found in the app, and their advice can also be found on their website.

They normally recommend getting professional support before trying to cut down your drinking, but these lockdown conditions aren’t normal. They advise cutting down slowly, over a few weeks, rather than just stopping suddenly. They recommend keeping a drinking diary for a week, to find out exactly how much you drink each day.

Again, the Drinksmeter will help you do this.

They also advise starting by reducing by 10% for a few days. At this stage, if you start to have any withdrawal symptoms, it means you’re cutting down too fast. Withdrawal symptoms could be sweating, headaches, confusion, sickness, blurred vision, lack of sleep, or imagining seeing or hearing things. At their most severe, withdrawal symptoms can lead to fits, which are dangerous. This is why a very gradual process is the safest approach.

Right now, we all need to do everything we can to avoid giving the Ambulance service and the NHS more work. So take it steady.

If you start to experience any withdrawal symptoms, even mild ones, slow down how much you are reducing what you drink. Keep drinking at your most recent safe level for another week, then start cutting down again. Consider cutting down by 5% instead of 10% each week.

They also give some other tips for this stage of the process

  • Ask a loved one for help. They could help you measure your drinks, record your intake or look after your alcohol for you.
  • Having someone going through this with you makes it both easier and more safe.
  • Gradually switch to a lower-strength drink. For example, replace a can of super-strength lager with a standard-strength can.
  • Add water or a mixer to your drinks.
  • Consider alternating, so that you drink one non-alcoholic drink for every alcoholic drink you have.
  • Try to eat healthily: avoid sugar, and try to eat plenty of brown rice and wholemeal bread. These are good for your vitamin B12 (thiamine) levels.
  • Take a vitamin B12 (thiamine) supplement. Ideally you should have 100mg of thiamine, three times a day. You can buy it from health stores online if you don’t already have it.
  • Keep hydrated with plenty of non-alcoholic drinks – but avoid coffee and energy drinks as these can cause sleep problems.

It may be best to keep reducing gradually all the way to zero, but at the point that you have reduced to a lower risk level and decide it’s safe to stop drinking altogether, make sure that someone knows you are about to do this, because you may still need support in an emergency.

Ask the people you live with to be ready to call an ambulance if you:

  • Have a fit or a seizure;
  • Become confused;
  • Develop double vision;
  • Become unsteady on your feet, or
  • Experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there).

These symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous.

In addition, don’t stop drinking entirely if you have previously experienced had any of those symptoms around drinking or stopping drinking. If any of this describes your experience, please feel free to call ‘We Are With You Cornwall’ (Addaction) on 0333 2000 325.

Again, at this lockdown moment, when getting out to see and talk to someone about your drinking is impossible, the Drinksmeter is a perfect self-monitoring tool. For most people it’s all that’s needed, but if you find you need to talk to someone for advice, the right contact details are within the app, based on the region where you live.

If you have any comments, questions, problems or feedback, please email us at daat@cornwall.gov.uk

 

 

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New domestic abuse campaign launched as cases expected to increase

April 2nd, 2020 by

Safer Cornwall have launched a campaign to raise awareness to mitigate the increased risks of domestic abuse in this period, and the challenges of providing adequate support, as the Corona Virus will have serious impacts on the lives of those living with domestic abuse.

The campaign aims to reassure communities that vital services are still available to support adults and children during this time, and reiterates where and how to access help.

The campaign also includes information on staying safe in the house, school places for children and how communities can support those affected.

Superintendent Sharon Donald of Devon & Cornwall Police said, “Sadly, as schools close and home working is encouraged, Covid-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse.  The cycle of violence may intensify with people having to isolate themselves and being unable to socialise in the normal ways.  It is important that victims know how and where to get advice and support and that they know they can report by phone and online.”

The campaign is being rolled out via digital media and the Safer Cornwall website. It aims both to raise awareness that domestic abuse may increase with people self-isolating, and to reassure people that help is available during these unprecedented times.

Rob Nolan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Covid-19 will have a serious impact on the lives of those living with domestic abuse.  For some people, home is not always a safe place, which might mean that the prospect of physical distancing or self-isolation may be causing some adults and children to feel additionally anxious, at an already difficult time.

Anna MacGregor at Safer Cornwall, said “We are doing everything possible to ensure that specialist support continues to be available to everyone that needs it. Some services are restricted to delivering non-face to face support, due to current health concerns. However, the support is still here for you and your family, refuges are still running, and specialist domestic abuse workers are still working to respond to your needs and help you to stay safe.”

 

Resources/help

Cornwall’s integrated domestic abuse and sexual violence service, Safer Futures, is still providing support, safety planning and information via their helpline, text service and online. Safer Futures will also direct you to any additional services that you may need and can liaise on your behalf if appropriate to do so, for example if you feel you want to access a refuge at this time.

saferfutures@firstlight.org.uk

0300 777 4777

To make a referral please go to
https://www.firstlight.org.uk/make-a-referral/

 

Alternatively, you can also access refuge and support via:

Cornwall Refuge Trust:

https://www.cornwallrefugetrust.co.uk/

24 hour Helpline: (01872) 225629

Tel: 01872 225629

 

If you feel unsafe and feel that you are in immediate danger, then you should still contact the emergency services via 999; Devon and Cornwall police work very closely with our local domestic abuse and sexual violence services and will ensure you get the follow-on support that you need.

 

Bright Sky bit.ly/BrightSkyApp  is a free to download mobile app on Android and IOS, providing support and information for anyone impacted by an abusive relationship or for those concerned about someone they know. It can also be used by practitioners and other employers to learn more and provide support.

If you are self-isolating or physically distancing and living with an abusive partner or family member there are a variety of tools you can use to cope emotionally and ensure you are staying safe, There’s lots of useful advice to be found online about ways to help reduce your anxiety and ground yourself, and things to help entertain the children.  In addition, Safer Cornwall will be posting regular videos and information to help you and your family through this difficult time.

We know that those of you with children prioritise their needs over your own and the thought of your children not being in safe place is very unsettling. We want to ensure that you are aware that children who are vulnerable can remain in school. Your school may have already identified your child as being eligible to continue to attend, if they have not and you feel that the situation in your home makes them vulnerable, then contact your school to ask if your child can be included. If you need assistance with this, please contact the Safer Futures or Cornwall Refuge Trust helplines above.

 

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National Child Exploitation Awareness Day 18th March 2020

March 5th, 2020 by

Tackling exploitation is a high priority for partners in Cornwall. Exploitation is where someone takes unfair advantage of others to gain something for themselves. It occurs when a person is persuaded to do things in exchange for something that they need or want (coercion), or threatened or forced to do things by people with more power than them – this can be someone of a similar age to the child or young adult being exploited, as well as an adult.  It can include being made to provide sexual acts (sexual exploitation) and/or to commit crimes such as theft, benefit fraud, or dealing, carrying or growing drugs (known as criminal exploitation).

Commonly children and young adults think that they have a free choice in their involvement, but when the people exploiting them have more power than they do, we do not believe that this is a free choice.   The methods the exploiters use include ‘grooming’ where someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a person so that they can exploit them; coercion; control; manipulation and threats.  Children and young adults can also be experiencing exploitation and taking part in abusive behaviours towards others at the same time – exploitation is never the victim’s fault.

Our new Child Exploitation Strategy for the next 3 years (which covers ages up to 25 years) is being published in April 2020 and we are also supporting the National Child Exploitation Awareness Day on 18th March 2020 which aims to highlight the issues surrounding Child Exploitation; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out.

Look out for our social media campaign – one of the ways you can show your support to the awareness day is to write a personal pledge on your hands and post your photo on social media with the hashtag  #CEADay20 to help us raise awareness of child exploitation.

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Raising Awareness on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence 2020

February 28th, 2020 by

Safer Cornwall supported Sexual Abuse Sexual Violence Awareness WK 2020 with a conference focusing on the impact of SASV on Children and Young People and a substantial social media campaign promoting the #ItsNotOK movement.

The conference was sold out, with 150 attendees from Health, Education, Local Authority and Voluntary sectors and received great feedback:

“Thank you for a fab morning”
“Thank you for an informative and emotive conference”
“Great conference, great awareness shared”
“I enjoyed the whole conference and have gained a wealth of knowledge that I can use in my role and share with my colleagues”
“hard hitting and informative about the stance and position the Police are taking to address this issue.”

In addition to the conference, we also delivered a substantial social media campaign, featuring information in relation to sexual violence and sexual abuse  and its impact on young people and children and guidance on how to access support in Cios.

The campaign was very successful, reaching over 20,000 people, featuring videos with content from multiple partner agencies and professionals bravely sharing their personal experience of sexual violence and sexual abuse to raise awareness and break the silence!

 

 

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RECONNECT at Westminster

February 28th, 2020 by

Barnardo’s have been working on a Domestic Abuse report based on evidence from their services about the impact domestic abuse has on children – particularly developing mental health issues, harmful sexual behaviour, being in an abusive intimate relationships, and youth offending.

RECONNECT, one of the programmes commissioned through Safer Cornwall, played a vital role in contributing to the report and ensured the voices of the children and young people who live in Cornwall were heard.  They have long been calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to fully reflect children’s experience of domestic abuse and their vital need for support and Barnardo’s report supports these calls.

Staff from Barnardo’s launched the report at a parliamentary roundtable on Tuesday 25th February in the House of Lords.  They discussed the findings and the upcoming opportunity the Domestic Abuse Bill provides to improve support for children affected by domestic abuse.

Sarah Milnes from Barnardo’s said: “There were some real strengths at the meeting, including the content of the speeches and the diversity of people in the room – representing government, parliament and the voluntary sector. There was also significant praise for Barnardo’s which is a tribute to the quality of the report and the influencing we’ve been doing in recent months.”

 

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Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: