Domestic violence – consisting of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as threatening, controlling or coercive behaviour between those aged 16 or over – has showed alarming rises during the pandemic as families and social groups spent increased amounts of time together at home.
Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline soared by 65% between April and June 2020, just after the first lockdown came into operation, and there has also been a double-digit spike in referrals to Victim Support.
Launched in 2010, the One Stop Shop is a confidential service for people experiencing domestic violence or abuse in Merton. Over the last decade since it opened in 2010, more than 2,000 people have benefitted from support given by it, but during the pandemic it had to stop face to face operation due to Covid-19.
The relaunched service will be open every Monday (except bank holidays) from 22 November between the hours of 9.30am – 12.00pm at Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, and will provide advice from different agencies including victim support, and solicitors.
It will initially be by appointment only – please call 020 7801 1777 to book. If you are in imminent or actual danger, call 999.
Merton Council Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Public Safety and Tackling Crime, Agatha Akyigyina, said: “We are very proud to be able to offer this vital service again to residents who have suffered from domestic violence during last 18 months.
“The pandemic was a difficult and testing time for everyone, but to have those concerns aggravated by the fear of physical or emotional violence in the home will have made life even more terrible. I urge anyone experiencing such abuse to reach out to the One Stop Shop, Victim Support or the police.”