BRACKNELL’S Citizens Advice reported a record number of calls to the service in March 2020 — but the number of calls from people with domestic abuse issues did not increase from 2019.

This has worried staff and volunteers at the charity as they fear covid-19 related issues may be overshadowing emotional, financial or physical abuse people may be facing.

Sue, a volunteer of Citizens Advice Bracknell & District, said: “We continue to support clients with a full telephone service.

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“Our advisers can access all the same information and can refer to their supervisors for more help.

“The team are continuing to help clients understand their options to deal with domestic abuse.

“We are always non-judgemental, well-informed and supportive of our clients. I don’t want people to suffer alone, we are here for them.”

Despite Citizens Advice Bracknell and District (CABD) not seeing an increase in calls related to this issue, domestic violence charity Refuge saw a 700 per cent surge in call volume in a single day at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

This comes as the Home Office launched its own awareness campaign with the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone to encourage those who are suffering to understand how they can get help.

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The support page can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

Tina Stevenson, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Bracknell and District, added: “We know there are lots of remarkable support services for people who are experiencing domestic abuse and we hope that our statistics mean that these are being accessed by everyone who needs help.

“We are keen to reiterate the important message that no one needs to suffer alone.

“Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses people are under.

“Citizens Advice is here as a front door to access all the help people need.

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“We can provide options, information, signposting & referrals.

“It is a big step for anyone to take and we want to acknowledge this and provide reassurance that the support in place can help.”

Help for residents can be found on the CABD website (https://www.citizensadvicebracknell.org.uk), through social media and through the Advice Lines on 03 444 111 306.