Victims of domestic abuse could be given a codeword to allow them to alert people such as shop workers that they are in danger.
Under new government plans, retail workers would be trained to identify the key words and would then be able to pass information onto relevant agencies such as law enforcement and victims’ charities.
The Home office said it is working on the codeword scheme with various groups including the National Pharmacy Association, the British Retail Consortium, and domestic abuse charities, all of whom will be among the participants in a virtual Hidden Harms Summit hosted by Boris Johnson on Thursday.
Mr Johnson said: “I am acutely aware that for some people home is not a safe space, and that coronavirus has brought with it additional dangers.”
He added: “It is vital that we come together and bring all our collective expertise to ensure we are doing everything we can to support those at risk, and to help them rebuild their lives.”
As well as domestic abuse, the summit will be looking at new ways to support victims of sexual violence, child sexual abuse and modern slavery.
It comes as around £10 million has been earmarked to boost the National Crime Agency’s ability to tackle paedophiles operating on the dark web, and there is a further £3.36 million for projects to the understand the threat posed by the most serious criminals.
The Home Office said that £76 million of extra funding has been made available for vulnerable people from the Government’s £750 million package of support for charities.
Representatives from the National Crime Agency, National Police Chiefs’ Council, the children’s, domestic abuse, anti-slavery and victims’ commissioners and leaders from domestic abuse and children’s charities, including the NSPCC, Refuge and Women’s Aid are among those who are set to attend the summit.
NCA director general Lynne Owens said the additional funding for this financial year should help to arrest more online child sex offenders while NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless described children as “the hidden victims of this crisis” who maybe struggling with anxiety and fear of abuse or neglect while being cut off from friends, family and support services.
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