Borders public urged to keep eyes and ears open for anyone at risk of harm

COVID-19 help and support

Published: Monday, 8th June 2020

Along with NHS Borders and Police Scotland, we are urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for anyone who may be at risk of harm during these challenging times.

With social isolation and other restrictions bringing major change to our normal routines, families have been forced into closer contact that they are typically used to. Sadly this creates the potential for increased abuse to take place, whether that’s an escalation of an existing situation or it may be something new as a result of the wide range of stresses and pressures that coronavirus has brought.

Schools and nurseries normally play a central role in contributing to the safety of children and young people, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. While these have been closed, teachers and child protection teams have been finding alternative ways to support those they know to be at risk, including offering all vulnerable children a place in our Childcare Hubs, but concern remains for those who may not be so visible.

Adult protection and domestic abuse services are equally aware of the impact the situation may be having on anyone either currently in an abusive relationship or who is perhaps experiencing a change in the behaviour of a family member that is causing them concern.

Tracey Logan, our Chief Executive

 “Everyone has a right to live a life free from abuse or harm, and in these difficult times it is especially important that we do all we can to support those who are at risk.

“We all need to play our part and stay at home as required, but there are those for whom home is not a safe place and we want them to know that they are not alone and help is available. All our child protection, adult protection and domestic abuse teams remain fully staffed and here to provide whatever advice, support and intervention is needed.

“We understand that getting in touch may be difficult, but we would urge anyone who is at risk to find a way to reach out and get help.”

Ralph Roberts, NHS Borders Chief Executive

“It is absolutely vital that family members, friends, neighbours and local communities also play their part by keeping their eyes and ears open for any signs of abuse and then doing something about it.

“Local people always provide a significant protective factor for the vulnerable and this is even more important at a time when so many are under additional stress. If you see or hear something that worries you, trust your instincts and tell someone. It may be nothing, or it may be the best thing you could ever do for them.”

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders

“The genuinely unprecedented circumstances since the onset of this pandemic has had a profound impact across towns and communities in Scotland. Officers in the Scottish Borders are committed in our collective efforts to keep people safe, supporting those in need and protecting the most vulnerable.

“The ethos of community working together is a strong feature within the Scottish Borders and this approach is even more important now. If you are concerned about anyone who you believe may be at risk, or indeed if you need assistance we are here to help and I ask that you do not hesitate to contact Police Scotland. I am confident members of the public in the Scottish Borders will continue to be vigilant and reiterate that protecting people and ensuring safety will always be the priority of the policing team across the Lothians and Scottish Borders.”

Further information

To find out more about how to get support, visit our website or call one of the following to speak to someone directly:

  • If you are concerned that you or an adult you know is at risk of harm, call 0300 100 1800.
  • If you are concerned about a child or young person, or are worried about your own safety, call 01896 662 787.
  • You can call the Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support service on 01835 825 024 or email [email protected]
  • Out of office hours call 01896 752 111.
  • In an emergency call 999 or otherwise 101.