Coronavirus: Harlesden charity sees sharp rise in abuse cases due to covid pandemic
- Credit: Archant
Staff at a Harlesden charity have seen their workload increase during the covid pandemic.
The team at EACH - Enabling Change Rebuilding Lives in Design Works, Park Parade, helps people in “extreme crisis”.
Groups they have helped in recent months include domestic abuse survivors, victims of modern day slavery and trafficking, excluded youngsters and those suffering mental and emotional trauma.
“Since the beginning of Covid we’ve seen cases increase in size, depth and frequency,” said deputy chief Clarissa Stoneham.
The London-wide charity oversees approximately 10 services in Brent, and as well as domestic violence and abuse, mental health and substance misuse, there is also a youth offending team working with youngsters excluded from school.
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“The first three months of Covid we saw a 37 per cent increase in demand for domestic violence support. We had 279 referrals, 6,500 phone calls and 400 one-to-one face-to-face contact on door steps,” said Clarrisa, who in January was recognised for her outstanding contribution to society in a government letter.
She added: “We provide cultural and gender specific support. We reach out to minorities within minorities as there are certain groups that are marginalised, such as refugees and asylum seekers, those with no recourse to public funds.”
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Jatin Patel was hired as housing team leader just before the Covid lockdown on March 23.
“The biggest challenge was having to self learn as I didn’t know how the systems worked. There was no-one there as I was self-teaching leading a team. The challenge has been good, it makes you better at your job.
Louisa Benatallah is an advocate working in housing support. She said it was a “learning curve” dealing with a backlog of cases.
“A lot of people are being served evictions still. Many clients have learning difficulties or mental health issues and can’t understand the letters they receive in the post.
“It can be really rewarding helping people who are vulnerable when you manage to sort out their problems.”
Clarissa said: “The impact of the pandemic and lockdown has affected different people in different says. We want to reassure people that as a community we will get through this and individuals who need any help or information are more than welcome to get in touch with us.”
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