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Community / Women’s Aid offers help for people with hidden phones ahead of national emergency test

THE LOCAL Women’s Aid branch is offering help to anyone subjected to domestic abuse who may have a hidden phone ahead of the UK Government testing a new national emergency alert system later this month.

At 3pm on Sunday 23 April the government will test the system on people’s phones.

Someone’s mobile phone may make a loud siren-like sound, even if it is on silent, or vibrate or read out the alert.

People can opt out of emergency alerts, but the government recommends that they are kept switched on.

It is a new UK government service designed to warn people, on a national or local level, if there is a danger to life nearby, such as severe flooding, fire or extreme weather.

But concern has been raised about how the test might negatively affect people who may have a hidden phone, such as people suffering domestic abuse use a second device in emergencies.

Shetland Women’s Aid said it can offer help to anyone who needs help to ensure their hidden phone remains silent.

A Shetland Women’s Aid support worker, whose identity has been kept anonymous, said in a statement: “For those in Shetland living with an abuser at home, the test on Sunday 23April could have very serious consequences.

“People subjected to abuse may have a secondary phone as part of their safety plan, to contact support services like ours as well as trusted family and friends.

“There is a very real risk that this test could expose this, and we want to make sure that we raise awareness to allow folk to stay safe at home.”

Anyone who is being subjected to domestic abuse and would like some support, or are worried about a loved one, can contact Shetland Women’s Aid on office@shetlandwa.org or 01595 692070. People can also call 999 in an emergency.

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