Police give mobile phones to victims fleeing domestic abuse in Stoke-on-Trent


Vulnerable residents and domestic violence victims are being given mobile phones to help them stay in touch with police and other agencies.

It is part of a wider scheme to provide an extra layer of support to members of the community struggling with either mental health issues or fleeing abusive situations.

Officers from Stoke-on-Trent North neighbourhood policing team’s harm reduction hub secured £500 from a Tesco ‘bags of help’ Covid-19 fund.

Now they have purchased 20 mobile phones, which are being handed to those in emergency accommodation in the city.

PCSO Simon Jones, an early intervention officer based at Burslem police station, said: “We have been coming across vulnerable people who have been put up in emergency accommodation, with a large number suffering from domestic abuse.

“It is vital we are able to stay in touch with these people, but equally that they can call us and other agencies who are helping to support them.

“We identified that some had left all their possessions behind and didn’t have mobile phones, which would have made it hard for us to have regular contact.”

The phones have also been loaded with useful contacts based on the individual’s situation.

“It is so important they don’t feel cut off while they are in temporary accommodation and this is a way of ensuring we can reach them and they can also speak to agencies who can help them,” added PCSO Jones.

Along with the phones, he has also bought 30 colouring books from The Works store in Hanley. They contain images and positive phrases.

He said: “We link in with mental health services and they give out therapy books to their clients and they help when people are feeling low or distressed.

“I approached The Works and they kindly sold them to us at a discounted rate. There are puzzles and positive wording which people spend time colouring in and it’s just an alternative to help people cope with their current situation.”

Chief Inspector Mark Barlow, of Stoke-on-Trent North NPT, says the scheme represents an example of the force looking to help some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

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He said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, some people have felt isolated and, as a result, their mental health has suffered. In addition, with people spending more time at home, we have seen various domestic incidents where individuals have needed somewhere else to live – and sometimes have very few possessions.

“We are always looking at ways we can support our communities and the books and mobile phones are just another way of exploring how we as a force can be proactive and supportive. We are not simply about enforcement.”

The initiative coincides with Staffordshire Police’s domestic abuse awareness campaign #YouAreNotAlone. The campaign started on December 7 and runs until early New Year.

Anyone with concerns over domestic abuse can report them through private messaging Staffordshire Police’s Facebook or Twitte. Alternatively, they can call 101 or visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/domesticabuse.





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