Leeway has launched a new live chat service on its website, which will provide advice and support to those experiencing domestic abuse.
Operated by a new First Contact Case Worker, the service has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
The live chat will initially operate on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s between 10am and midday, and enhances Leeway’s current advice and support provisions, which include email and telephone support.
Those accessing the live chat will receive free, confidential and non-judgemental advice and support on issues such as safety planning or referring to other Leeway services.
Throughout the lockdown period, Leeway has seen a 25% increase in the number of people visiting their website, as well as an increase in the number of people accessing support via email.
The live chat will provide a safe and discrete way of accessing advice and support, without alerting the perpetrator in the same way that a telephone call would.
Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, said:
“We are delighted to launch this new service and hope that it provides a new, safe, way for people experiencing domestic abuse to access support.
“The Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures have highlighted how it is often not possible to pick up the phone for support, through fear of alerting the perpetrator. We hope that our live chat service will help people to access the support they need in a discrete and safe manner.
“I wanted to thank the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk for funding this new role and service, and also for their continued commitment to tackling domestic abuse in Norfolk.”
Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, said:
“I am proud to have been able to support Leeway, who have been doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances, in setting up this new live chat service.
“It's vital that, when victims need and feel able to reach out for help, it is as easily accessible as possible.
“This new route to help will complement and enhance the service Leeway already provides; the more options there are for making that contact, the fewer barriers there hopefully are to a victim in need getting support.”
How to get help
If you are in immediate danger you should still call 999. If speaking or making an immediate sound would put you in danger and you need immediate help, call 999 and stay on the line, then press 55 when prompted and the call will be transferred to the police, who will know it is an emergency call.
Leeway’s advice and support service can be accessed via phone 0300 561 0077, email email@example.com and live chat, which can be accessed on www.leewaysupport.orghttps://www.leewaysupport.org
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