The Domestic Abuse Bill returned to Parliament this week for its Second Reading. This is such an important piece of legislation that will extend protections for victims of domestic abuse and we see how important this Bill is with the news of a staggering increase in calls for help during lockdown. Refuge, Women’s Aid, the Mankind Initiative, and Respect, who support perpetrators who are trying to change their behaviour, have all reported increased calls to their helplines and traffic to their websites over the last few weeks. Lockdown has been difficult for us all to manage, but there is no excuse for abusive behaviour. This Bill must ensure that we have a national network of well-funded refuges so that if anyone needs to leave their home to find safety, then they are not turned away due to lack of space. It must also ensure that there are protections for children, who may themselves be direct victims of abuse, or who, by witnessing the abuse of a parent, are nevertheless severely affected by the vicious nature of abuse.
I’ve been contacting care providers for adults with learning difficulties this week to applaud their efforts during the ongoing lockdown. As an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, I know just how important their work is to allow people to remain living in the community and enjoying life to the full. The fantastic Glamorgan House autism centre in Neath created a McDonald’s drive-thru for the people they support last week – you may have seen some of the social media that was generated from their kind and innovative idea to help maintain some semblance of normality and structure for the people they support. It’s amazing to see places like Glamorgan House adjusting their services so they can continue to support people even as the pandemic affects our everyday lives so much.
It was National Postal Workers Day on Wednesday and I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to all those working within the postal service who are keeping us all connected and in receipt of important deliveries. In rain, wind, or shine our posties trek through our towns and villages and for those of us who are less acquainted with the more modern forms of communication, they provide a vital lifeline for news and letters. It’s more special than ever to receive a card or letter from a loved one, especially for those who are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days during these unusual times.
This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but I am receiving large amounts of casework from people who are concerned that they do not qualify for the UK Government’s furlough scheme and other financial support. Many of them are struggling to navigate the benefits system, something perhaps they have never had to do before, and which can be extremely confusing and bewildering. Citizens Advice Cymru have had to close their physical doors due to the Government’s social distancing measures, however their virtual doors remain wide open to all those who need help. You can call them on 03444 77 20 20 or visit their website here.
Finally this week, I’d like to congratulate the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the birth of their new baby boy, and wish mother and baby all the best. Despite the difficult circumstances, I am sure that he will bring lots of joy!
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.