A POLICE chief has warned that vulnerable adults and children could be more exposed to domestic violence as families have “no alternative” but to self-isolate during the coronavirus lockdown.

North Wales police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones said he is concerned that business closures, job losses and working from home could result in vulnerable people “having to spend even more time with their abuser”, while schools are closed with children having to stay at home.

Figures released by North Wales Police in early January showed it had received just under 40,000 reports of domestic violence over the previous two years.

“The threat of the coronavirus pandemic means that home is supposed to be the safest place any of us could be right now but sadly that isn’t true for victims of domestic abuse,” Mr Jones said.

“It can mean that they are now having to spend even more time with their abuser and are at even greater risk of violence and the equally abusive coercive control.”

Domestic abuse can be defined as controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

It includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, said any victims of domestic abuse should seek help by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

“This remains a crime though and I want to reassure anyone who feels they are at risk that the police and the many excellent support services that exist to help them stand ready,” he added.

Detective chief inspector Jon Salisbury Jones said the force's domestic abuse unit offers advice and support for victims.

“This is a difficult and stressful time for everyone, but it can never be an excuse for domestic abuse of any kind; whether it’s violence or controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour," he said.

“We would encourage anyone who is a victim of such abuse to contact us. Do not keep it to yourself. Our trained domestic abuse officers will support victims and deal firmly with offenders.

“There are a wide range of bodies which can offer advice and support and I would encourage anyone concerned with this issue to consult the advice available.”

For more information on how to get help visit www.north-wales.police.uk/advice-and-support/stay-safe/domestic-abuse