112 adds messenger service

16.10.2020 - 13:49
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Data show that the number of abuse cases rose alongside the coronavirus restrictions this spring, as had been expected. State police chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir says the number of abuse reports was up 14 percent compared to last year.

Sigríður Björk says domestic abuse is known to spike during times of crisis and of economic recession and that data from during the pandemic both supports and explains this.

In response, a new initiative has been launched in the fight against domestic abuse. Starting yesterday, victims, perpetrators, and others affected, can use a live text communication tool on 112.is instead of calling the 112 emergency line. 

Service users will be able to communicate directly and discreetly, in text form, with emergency services operators for the first time. 

The website is only in Icelandic now, but work is underway to introduce English and Polish versions. 

The project was started ten weeks ago and development will continue—including the expected introduction of an analysis tool to help people understand whether they are experiencing abuse and what they can do about it. 

According to a government press release, the launch of the 112 web chat yesterday coincides with a campaign to remind people to contact the emergency services with even the slightest concern about domestic abuse in their own lives or those of people nearby. 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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