Category Archives: General news

Domestic abuse: where and how to get help

While cases of domestic violence nationwide have increased during the coronavirus outbreak, the household isolation instruction does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

The order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse.There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances are. For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. You are not alone.

Friends, family, neighbours and community members can be a vital lifeline to those living with domestic abuse. If you are worried that someone you know may be a victim of domestic abuse, reassure them that the police and support services are still there to help and direct them to sources of support.

The government supports and funds several charities who can provide advice and guidance and we are in regular contact with the charity sector and the police to ensure that these support services remain open during this challenging time.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

What signs to look for

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn
  • having bruises
  • controlling finances
  • not being allowed to leave the house
  • monitoring technology use such as social media platforms

Where to get help

If you believe you are being abused, or worried you may commit domestic abuse, please use the services on this page.

If you suspect that your neighbours or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.

Call 999

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police – the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Then follow the instructions depending on whether you are calling from a mobile or a landline.

If you call from a mobile

If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard – this will transfer your call to the police.

Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

If you call 999 from a landline

If only background noise can be heard and BT operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, then you will be connected to a police call handler.

If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.

When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which you can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Its website provides guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. It also has a form through which you can book a safe time for a call from the team.

Refuge’s website includes a range of resources on identifying the signs of domestic abuse, and a safety guide for women and children who are living with a perpetrator. It also features a tech abuse chat-bot with step-by-step instructional videos on how to secure devices such as phones and laptops. Look for the pink button in the bottom-right corner.

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid has a range of direct services for survivors, including a live chat service and an online Survivors’ Forum. They have developed additional advice specifically designed for the current coronavirus outbreak. You can also find your local domestic abuse service on their website. They also provide information on the support helplines available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Men’s Advice Line

The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them.

Telephone: 0808 801 0327

Sight loss: Helping you to help others during coronavirus

If you have older family members or friends who are experiencing sight loss, then you may be worried about how to provide the right help and support for them.

Many people who have little or no experience of people with sight loss often feel worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, so we’ve created a few top tips to help you answer your concerns. 

These tips from the RNIB are ideal for people who are new to volunteering or are supporting people with sight loss, it’s perfectly normal to feel slightly apprehensive. It simply means that you are wanting to be helpful and not get anything wrong. But sight loss doesn’t need to cause any awkwardness; we are all people, we just all see things differently.

  • Social distancing – People living with sight loss will find it difficult to maintain social distancing, so keep this in mind when you’re interacting with them
  • Talk naturally – Don’t be afraid of using “visual language” like “nice to see you” – just relax and be yourself – you’ll feel awkward if you try to sensor yourself
  • Use verbal communication – Saying “Go over there” while pointing means very little to someone who can’t see where “there” is. Try and be specific, for example “Your glass is at 2 o’clock”, or “The card machine is above your right hand”.

Read all the tips here.

 

Age UK sounds warning on malnutrition in older people

Age UK and the Malnutrition Task Force have warned that the recent increases in isolation and loneliness, combined with restricted access to shopping and reduction in essential care and support could leave many more older people malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

This stark warning highlights the need for renewed efforts to identify and support older people who are at significant risk of malnutrition in the community.

There are nearly 9 million people over the age of 70 in the UK advised to ‘strictly adhere’ to the social distancing rules, and 1.28 million people of all ages being told to shield and not leave the house at all so they cannot shop for essential food and products for themselves.

Becoming malnourished can have serious health implications for older people. It increases the risk of infection, worsens any existing long-term conditions and there’s a greater risk of falls. Being malnourished also makes it harder for people to recover from an episode of ill health, a particular concern during this coronavirus pandemic.

Despite major efforts across public and voluntary sector and amongst local communities, Age UK and the Malnutrition Task Force are receiving a growing number of reports that older people are going without the food and support they need to stay well during the outbreak.

Some of these harrowing issues include:

  • older people being discharged from hospital with no food or support in place,
  • people struggling to access social care support or manage without the informal help usually available from family and friends,
  • and stress and anxiety about coping with on-going health and care needs causing people to reduce their intake of food and drink. 

Age UK’s Information & Advice line is also receiving more calls from older people who are very worried about the virus, and in some cases are too anxious to leave the house for essential supplies. Many of these people seem to be falling between-the-cracks of the different support schemes operating in local areas.

Read the article in full on the Age UK website.

Access our local food delivery directory here.

Get access to Calderdale Council’s volunteer service.

Scams: This week’s trends

An update on the scams trending at the moment in West Yorkshire

Anti-Scam Tips

With many older people alone or in lockdown at home, the threat of scams must be taken seriously. The following have been reported:

  • Email circulating to businesses purporting to be from the Chief Finance Officer from Local Councils advising them of eligibility for a £25,000 grant. This is not genuine and a scam email.
  • Criminals continue to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to commit fraud, as a scam involving the purchase of pets, such as puppies and kittens, continues to be reported to Action Fraud.
  • Fraudsters selling fake ‘NHS’ lanyards to purchase online. Obviously these are not genuine NHS items but something to be aware of when we are engaging with elderly / vulnerable residents. Just because someone is wearing a lanyard doesn’t make their intentions genuine.
  • Supermarket Voucher scams continue to increase. Multiple reports of fake supermarket adverts on Social Media offering vouchers for families to spend in store during the pandemic.
  • Apple Itunes phishing email claiming that billing information needs to be updated or account will be terminated.
  • TV Licence Phishing email claiming that direct debits have been cancelled and payment information is needed.
  • Paypal Phising email claiming you won’t be able to use the service unless you update your information online.

YOUR DOORSTEP YOUR DECISION
If you feel pressured, ask the person to leave.NO SNAP DECISIONS
Take time to talk to someone you trust before you make any decisions.DO THE CHECKS
You can check ID badges and contact associations to check membership registrations yourself. Call the telephone number of the organisation, obtain this number yourself, not from the person at the door.Forward scam emails to report@phishing.gov.ukReport complaints to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133Report scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040

Scams: Spotting suspicious emails and what to do

More advice follows on how to spot suspicious emails and what to do with them to avoid being scammed.

We have all had a dodgy looking email that we have either placed in the trash or reported back to individual sites. Well did you know there is a bespoke reporting service for all suspicious emails that we are encouraging you to use, the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (Sers).

As well as taking down malicious sites it will provide live time analysis of reports, identify new patterns in online offending and help the police stop even more offenders in their tracks.

So report your suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk

Don’t click, report it, protect yourselves.

Follow these Cyber Tips

1. Create a strong separate password for your email.
2. Create a strong password using three random words or the letters to a well known phrase (make it stronger with special characters)
3. Save your passwords in your browser, or use an online password vault – it’s safer than using the same password.
4. Turn on two-factor authentification (2FA) if offered, especially with banks. A couple of extra seconds may stop you becoming the next online victim.
5. Update you devices regulary, set them to ‘automatic update’.
6. Turn on backup, an external backup drive is a great place to start.

Latest Government advice for the over 70s

Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?

This specific advice for older people is taken from the Government’s recent (May 10-11th 2020) FAQ on the changes to their Coronavirus advice.

People aged 70 and over should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.

But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.

Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.

How long will shielding be in place?

We’ve advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

We know this is challenging guidance to follow, which is why we have a support scheme in place to provide help with access to food and basic supplies, care, medicines and social support.

We are keeping the guidance to shielded people under review.

Gov’t Advice: Face coverings & when to use them

The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. This advice comes from the Department of Health and Social Care 

Face Covering Usage – A Quick Guide

  • People who use public transport or visit shops should consider covering their mouth and nose
  • Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions
  • Public urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers.
  • Public recommended to make their own face coverings at home
  • Face Coverings don’t need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices and retail.
  • Face Coverings don’t need to be worn by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or children who cannot use them without assistance
  • Face Coverings don’t need to be worn by those who may have problems breathing while wearing them
  • Face Coverings do not remove the need to self-isolate if you have symptoms
  • How to make Face Coverings – step-by-step guide

Face Covering Usage – Detail

The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where you may be more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, the government announced on 11 May 2020. After careful consideration of the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the government confirmed face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances.

Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms. People with coronavirus symptoms, as well as members of their household, should continue to follow the advice to self-isolate. They may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow social distancing measures. This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.

They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices and retail, by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering.

The public is being strongly urged not to purchase surgical masks or respirators. These are prioritised for healthcare workers working in more high-risk environments where the risk is greatest.

Instead the public is encouraged to make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items that many will already own. Read the guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer said:

Wearing a face covering is an added precaution that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on.

The most effective means of preventing the spread of this virus remains following social distancing rules and washing your hands regularly. It does not remove the need to self-isolate if you have symptoms.

More Background on Face Covering Usage

COVID-19 can be spread directly by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces by touch and subsequently from touching the face. That is why hand hygiene is so important in controlling the infection.

Evidence shows a face covering can help in reducing the spread of droplets and therefore potentially infecting others, and could help to reduce the spread of infection as lockdown measures start to be lifted. It is important people refrain from touching their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.

Government will not be supplying face coverings centrally as at home items and fabrics readily available on the market can be used, but it is important to wash them after every use.

Research from the WHO showed that where masks were recommended for prolonged periods of time, some wearers failed to maintain good handwashing practices or follow social distancing policies, putting others at risk. As England has demonstrated strong adherence to social distancing, the government is confident face coverings can be recommended as an added precaution in certain environments rather than an essential part of social distancing policies.

For workers in various sectors, or in public transport, the government is advising they continue to follow the advice of their employers and make sensible workplace adjustments. Further guidance on safer workplaces and on transport will be published shortly.

Government has produced guidance for employees and in it they emphasise and reassure employers that for the majority the most effective way they can ensure that their employees are safe at work is to make sensible workplace adjustments, including erecting perspex screens which many supermarkets have already introduced.

Face coverings do not need to be worn in schools.

How to make face coverings