Domestic abuse support websites now free to access on mobile devices
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Support websites for those suffering domestic abuse are now free to access from mobile devices.
Those using mobile data to access a range of national websites will now not be charged for accessing them after the UK’s major telecoms companies agreed their customers’ mobile phone data will not be used up if they are seeking information and support online.
Instructions to stay at home as much as possible may have been a major cause of anxiety for some victims while social distancing measures mean it is harder for organisations to offer face-to-face support.
To ensure this vital support remains available mobile network operators EE, Vodafone, O2, Three, Sky Mobile, Virgin Media, Tesco Mobile and giffgaff have agreed that their customers will not incur data charges when accessing support and information on the following websites:
The following websites will be free to access:
Providing support for victims and witnesses of crime
Victim Support – www.victimsupport.org.uk
Providing support for victims of sexual violence and abuse
Rape Crisis – www.rapecrisis.org.uk
The Survivors Trust – www.thesurvivorstrust.org
Male Survivors Partnership – www.malesurvivor.co.uk
Providing support for victims of domestic abuse
Refuge – www.refuge.org.uk
National Domestic Abuse Helpline – nationaldahelpline.org.uk
Providing support for children suffering abuse
NSPCC – www.nspcc.org.uk
As part of this all of the UK’s internet providers have already agreed to remove all data allowance caps on current fixed broadband services, so accessing these websites through a home broadband connection will not incur data charges.
Detective Chief Inspector Brian Bilby, Derbyshire Constabulary’s lead for domestic abuse, said: “Today’s news is hugely welcome and will ensure that, for some of our most vulnerable victims, support is always in their pocket.
“I would urge anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse to seek out the help and support that is on offer.
“Anyone in this position must first remember that the situation you find yourself in is absolutely not your fault – and that if you need to leave your home then the current regulations around not staying in your own do not apply.
“In Derbyshire we have a vast range of support networks on offer – but the easiest way to begin that journey is by contacting the Derbyshire DA Helpline either by calling 08000 198 668, by texting 07534 617 252 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “No one should be denied access to these important sites because of data restrictions.
“This move will allow even more victims – especially those who may be struggling to use traditional contact methods during the lockdown – to access the help and support they need, and I hope that it becomes a permanent arrangement.”