The coronavirus lockdown is a challenging and daunting time for us all, but for some it means spending more time with an abusive partner or family member.
During this time, if you are living with domestic abuse you may feel isolated and cut off from help or support. Please be aware that you are not alone and support is still available.
If you are living in fear of abuse or are being abused, you can still leave home and seek help. Refuges remain open and you can still call support services and the police on 999 for assistance.
Police work is still happening during the outbreak
Police have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to attend calls to homes, and Covid-19 does not stop their ability to remove and arrest perpetrators. Court hearings are still happening and local authorities are providing accommodation to perpetrators who are removed from their homes. Covid-19 is not an excuse to keep survivors isolated with their abusers.
Spotting abuse during social distancing
If you are worried about a neighbour or family member because of something they’ve told you or perhaps something you’ve overheard, don’t be afraid to raise a concern
Support services are able to provide help and practical advice for victims. If you yourself need help and advice, or are worried about somebody else, you can contact the following services:
In an emergency:
• Always call 999 in an emergency, if you are at risk or you are worried about someone’s safety.
• If you are in danger and unable to speak, you can call 999, followed by 55 which will alert the police to an emergency without you needing to speak.
• If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, you can call the 999 textphone on 18000. You can also text 999 if you’ve pre-registered for the emergency SMS service
If you are not in immediate danger:
• If you wish to report abuse to the police and are not in immediate danger, you can call 101.
• If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, you can call the police’s non-emergency textphone number: 18001 101.
Support and advice
• For help and guidance, contact the freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. The helpline is open 24 hours a day and is for anyone, not just victims.
• You can also visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk for information and to get in touch
• When telephone support is not safe, Women’s Aid offers an online service. This includes an instant messaging service through online chat (available Mon-Fri 10am-12pm), email support (response within five days) and a survivor’s handbook to get help on housing, safety planning, dealing with police and more.
Keeping children safe
If you are concerned about the safety of a child or children, you should contact your local authority’s children and families service immediately.
• You can also contact the NSPCC anonymously on 0800 800 5000 (Mon-Fri 8am-10pm and 9am-6pm at the weekend) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, if a child is in immediate danger please call 999
Struggling to cope with your own behaviour?
If you are causing a family member to be harmed or afraid, and need support about your own abusive behaviour, you can talk to a helpline adviser in confidence, without judgement, on freephone 0808 802 4040 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) or visit https://respectphoneline.org.uk
• Safe Lives Resource Hub or call 0117 403 3220 - great specialist advice
• Surviving Economic Abuse during Covid-19
• Hestia’s Bright Sky App is a free to download app for mobile devices, and offers a UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services with contact details and further resources. If you have an iPhone or iPad, go to the App Store, or if you have an Android phone or tablet, go to Google Play and search for ‘Hestia Bright Sky’.