A DOMESTIC abuse service which helps people across North Yorkshire says they are determined to carry on as concern increases over rising problems amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Yorkshire Independent Domestic Abuse Service offers life saving support for thousands of people and has vowed to keep open it's helplines and refuges over the coming months.

They say for many people who may be afraid of their partner and could be facing weeks or months of being isolated with them for long periods of time the lockdown is an extra risk factor.

Sarah Hill, Chief Executive Officer of IDAS said: "We are really worried about the risks of people being isolated with abusive people whose behaviour may escalate due to increasing uncertainty, pressure on finances and cramped conditions.

"Many people who face controlling, violent or abusive behaviour from a partner or family member are likely to be feeling very scared about being isolated with them for long periods of time. We want them to know that there is support available.

"Over the next few months, we will work creatively and flexibly to provide vital services in very difficult circumstances. We are immensely proud of our teams who are pulling together during this difficult time to ensure that there is a way for people to get help if they are afraid of their partner or concerned for someone they know."

Through online support, telephone calls, whatsapp groups and emails they say they'll be keeping the service going. Their advice to friends, neighbours or family members worried about someone they know is to check in with them regularly; ask for a sign or a safe word that could indicate potential risk; call the police if you see or hear anything that is suspicious and causes them concern.

For anyone facing isolation with an abusive person they advise: *Getting a spare phone and storing emergency contact numbers in it, they also advise hiding it in a safe place or with a trusted person.

*Keep your ID documents, emergency funds, bank cards and children’s birth certificates to hand.

*Speak to neighbours asking them to ring the police if they hear or see anything that could indicate violence or abuse.

*Set up safe words with friends so they know if they need to call for help on your behalf.

*Plan to check in with people regularly so they can raise the alarm if they don’t hear from you.

*Plan to escape to the garden or a room you can exit from easily if abusive behaviour escalates

*Avoid rooms where there could be weapons if the abusive behaviour escalates

The service is funded through donations and has asked anyone who can help to support them and give money to go through www.justgiving.com/IDAS

Information on all issues connected with domestic abuse including legal and rural outreach advice is on the groups website at www.idas.org.uk