WELSH Government ministers are urging victims of abuse, both adult and child, to reach out to specialist services and are asking members of the community to keep a watchful eye.

Deputy minister and chief whip, Jane Hutt, said that during lockdown abusers can use isolation to exert more power and control over their victims, whether that involves violence, neglect, or emotional abuse.

She assured the public that specialist services are available to help victims of harm, abuse or neglect during the Covid-19 pandemic, with children and parents who are at risk prioritised for services.

"We know that enforced isolation can be used as a tool for coercive control, or as an excuse to inflict violence on victims. Lockdown also makes it more difficult to find someone to turn to for help," said the minister.

"Under lockdown, the normal places of escape – school, friends' houses, youth centres, colleges and universities, workplaces – are not available. It can be difficult for victims to get help, but specialist services are open, and ready to offer support.

"I want to reassure victims that you are not alone. Help is available, and I would encourage you to reach out, if you can.

"I also want to call on friends, neighbours, postal workers, delivery drivers and communities to act as the eyes and ears for victims of abuse who need help, but can't get in contact because they are under the watchful eyes of their abuser.

"It is very important, for your safety and the victim's, that you don't intervene yourself, but there is lots of support available, and you can help by calling 999 in an emergency, Live Fear Free 24/7 on 0808 8010 800, or specialist services.

The minister said that signs that abuse is happening behind closed doors could include repeated shouting, sounds of things being hit, smashed or broken, and continuing crying or pleas to stop.

Victims might have cuts or bruises, look confused or dishevelled, or be anxious or withdrawn.

"If you suspect that someone, whether child or adult, is suffering abuse, harm, neglect, harassment, control, physical violence or emotional abuse at the hands of a family member or partner, please call the police if it's an emergency," she said.

More information is available on gov.wales/reporting-suspected-abuse-harm-or-neglect-safeguarding.

"You could be saving a life," said Ms Hutt.

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, urged everyone toto report any concerns of abuse or neglect. adding that Wales' social services, specialist teams and third sector organisations are still open and are working hard to support anyone who needs their help.