Tesco staff to help tackle domestic abuse

Domestic abuse calls are on the rise on the Isle of Man amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Chief Constable Gary Roberts, of the Isle of Man Constabulary, said that calls to police were up 145% this month, compared to April 2019.

Next week, the force is rolling out a scheme with Tesco so that those who need support can approach staff in-store, rather than getting in touch from their own home.

When staff are approached by a member of the public, the plan is to take the person to a quiet room while the store contacts the force.

Inspector Steve Giddins said Tesco had been “very supportive” of the idea.

He added: “This is working with partners at a time when people might feel isolated.

“We are identifying places, in this case supermarkets, where people subject to domestic abuse are on their own and able to safely speak to staff to pass on any concerns.

“Staff would then contact the police. We are here to support all those subject to domestic abuse.”

The force said it is looking to offer the help in other stores too. Paula Gelling, manager of Victim Support Isle of Man, said the organisation “fully backs” the initiative with Tesco.

Ms Gelling added that victims of domestic abuse “need as many opportunities to seek help as possible”.

“Whether that be whilst out shopping, which is one of the activities we can do at the moment, or whether that be at the hairdressers or opticians,” she went on.

Victim Support Isle of Man has independent domestic violence advisors to assist people to improve both their safety and their family’s safety.

Ms Gelling said: “Along with the police, we are here to help, our opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.” Victim Support can be contacted on (01624) 679950 or enquiries@victimsupport.im if it is safe to do so.

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