In May 2020, the number of reported cases was 68,000 which is up by 8,000 cases from last year. One domestic abuse charity in Salford has been trying to help throughout.
Salford Survivor Project is a charity with the aim of providing people who have been or know someone who has been a victim of abuse with support. But during 2020 they have, unfortunately, seen the use of their services rise considerably.
Jane Gregory, who works with the project said;
“We had a lot of calls from parents of grown-up children who they knew were in abusive relationships. They wanted to know how to help their child.”
But she says they were stretched this year with the increase of people using the services.
“During lockdown, we were inundated with calls. This meant we had to prioritise people who were in the most need.
We didn’t have time to offer them emotional support. We were encouraging them to go to the police and we were finding people housing. But the aftercare we were not able to give.”
In a year where the reported cases of abuse are on the up, she says they had to get more people to help them.
“We had to get more people to help because it was getting so busy it was going to an answering machine and the last thing people want to hear is an answering machine.
When you get these phone calls all day, it does take its toll on you. Bearing in mind we are all volunteers.”
Manchester had seen some of the highest rates for domestic abuse cases across the country in 2020. With April last year being one of the worst months with 172 being dealt with in the magistrates’ court. But Jane Gregory is keen to remind us that it comes in all forms. She says;
“We had a lot of family abuse, it’s not just domestic abuse.”
2020 alone had seen a 25% increase of people calling into charities about domestic violence and abuse. With more restrictions coming, they are not sure what will happen about it.
“We’ve had to close the shop because of covid.” Gregory says, “Domestic abuse charities never got enough funding without covid, so it never stood a chance.”
Recently the project had been on the verge of closing as they could not afford the rent for their shop and they put a fundraiser out on Facebook.
Within the space of 24 hours, they managed to raise enough money for rent and have some leftover.
“You saw the appeal the other day, and the rent has been covered.
“As a charity, everything’s changed for us. Without the community, we couldn’t have done anything.”
But this is only the beginning for the project it seems, as Jane Gregory is looking to expand even further in the future. She says;
“We didn’t have the time to apply for funding cause we were inundated with calls. I want to expand, I want to bring people in, train them, give them jobs, and empower them to help people.”
But, with the shop closing this year, Jane worries they have not been able to help people fully;
“They’ve got no money and no place to go. The biggest fear for us was that they were going to go back. If we could have provided them with full support we wouldn’t have had that issue”
But with the shop managing to stay open, Salford Survivor Project will continue to work into the New Year and help as many people as they can. Jane has thankfully managed to find some positives out of this year as well;
“But one good thing, definitely, was seeing the Salford community pulling together.”