With concerns being raised in the UK Parliament over a reported 49% increase in calls to national domestic abuse charities since the Government Covid-19 lockdown began.
And a sharp increase in reports to police of domestic abuse, local law firm Everett Tomlin Lloyd and Pratt, has teamed up with the charity Cyfannol Women’s Aid to offer free telephone advice to victims.
Advice under the scheme can be given by free telephone on steps to protect victims of domestic violence including practical advice on making applications for non-molestation orders, but also extends to general matrimonial, children and family advice.
The firm based in Pontypool and Newport previously offered face to face free family legal clinics where advice was offered on all family matters, including domestic violence issues, divorce, financial matters and issues relating to their children and child protection. Everett Tomlin, Lloyd and Pratt solicitors needed to suspend this face to face scheme during the current crisis.
Kay Perrott, Head of the firm’s family department and who is also current Chair of Cyfannol Women’s Aid, said:
“As a firm we have a long history of offering free help and assistance to victims of domestic abuse at our clinics, as well as providing advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau. As a trustee of Cyfannol I am well aware that there are a number of victims of domestic abuse who need urgent help and are unsure where to turn.
“While there is a common misconception the courts are closed, they are not for urgent matters and the family court are still dealing with applications via telephone and skype with the lawyers and parties appearing remotely.
“In the current environment and to ensure our lawyerss and staff can work safely in these essential areas we have quickly adapted and are now able to continue providing advice, albeit in different ways.
“With the use of apps such as office teams, skype and whatsapp video calling we are able to continue to assist people in providing much needed legal advice and assistance when they need it most.
The service can be accessed by telephoning 01495 763333 or emailing [email protected] for a call back.
Helen Swain, chief executive officer of Cyfannol Women’s Aid, said
“We are grateful to all external partner agencies who are assisting people affected by domestic abuse. As a charity Cyfannol is committed to doing all we can to safeguard everyone who accesses our services at this challenging time.
“While our offices are closed, staff are working hard behind the scenes, providing support to people across Gwent via phone and email, and in our refuges. If you have been affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence and need help staying safe or making plans, you can also contact Cyfannol Women's Aid via your local office phone number: https://cyfannol.org.uk/contact.”