Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness is preparing an emergency funding package to help children at risk of domestic abuse during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Across the region charities and support groups have urged people to get in touch if they are experiencing domestic abuse while isolating with their family.

But a particular concern now is for children who might not be able to access support while schools are closed own.

Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness is now providing specialist funding to help groups adapt to new ways of reaching young people at risk – with new grants available to help reach children via emails and social media.

More than £120,000 is being set aside for specialist organisations in order to ensure children do not become the forgotten victims of domestic abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Kim said: “Our message to people at risk of domestic abuse is clear; we are there for you even in these difficult times.

“Despite this we have also seen how charities, community groups and victims services are being hit hard with little or no additional support. I recently announced a Coronavirus Response Fund to help groups adapt, but I know many in the voluntary sector remain worried about how they can continue to support people and help keep us all safe during this unprecedented national emergency.

“We know also that right now across our region will be people who feel trapped, locked in with their abuser, and whose children suffer as a result.

“So I’m encouraging organisations to come forward and bid to this fund so we can continue to work together to help those in need.

“It is vitally important, now more than ever, that those at risk continue to get the care they need, and to know we are there for them”.”

Many children’s domestic abuse services are thought to be experiencing more difficulty than adult services when providing telephone or online support, especially regarding younger children. Support is normally delivered in schools for some services where it is a safe space for the child and this cannot be offered anymore.

Services are now moving to digital tools, including texts and skype, although there are some services still doing face to face visits on high risk cases.

In the coming weeks the police commissioner will be holding conference calls with key organisations Funding is available via the Home Office’s Children at risk of Domestic Abuse fund.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can report an incident by ringing 101 or visiting www.northumbria.pnn.police.uk. Also in a non-emergency situation you can text the police on 07786 200814.

In an emergency, always call 999. If you dial 999 and are unable to speak, the emergency operator will ask you to dial 55 and to follow their instruction to quickly put you in touch with police.

Help is also available From Victims First Northumbria, who can be found at www.victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk or on 0800 011 3116 More information on the fund can be found here.