Crisis numbers launched

This week saw the launch of three free-phone numbers set up to help people suffering from domestic abuse, racial harassment or homophobic abuse.

The numbers are:

0800 138 0531 for Domestic Abuse

0800 138 0524 for Racial Harassment

0800 138 0526 for Harassment by virtue of sexuality

All three numbers are being run through a partnership of the Winchester, East Hampshire, Fareham and Havant Community Safety Partnerships, and Hampshire Constabulary.

The numbers offer recorded information for people suffering in these situations and are completely confidential. The numbers will not show up on the phone bill and can be accessed 24hrs a day. All three messages are designed to give people information before they feel ready to talk to someone face to face.

The statistical information gained from the number of calls received will help highlight the extent of these crimes that are often not reported, and may go some way to help solve, or prevent, crimes.

Diana Boyles, Crime and Disorder Inspector at Fareham Police said, "The launch of these numbers is a huge step forward and has been a long time in coming. The opportunity for people to leave an anonymous message at the end will help them to take positive action about their harassment, and help us in tackling crime.

"Even if people do not want to be involved themselves, they can leave details of people they think are being targeted or those who are committing the offence," she added.

Any messages left with the service will be picked up during office hours and so the partnerships stress that if anyone is in immediate danger they must dial 999. Each of the numbers has translations in nine languages and offers numbers and information about national and local organisations that can help.