Domestic Abuse and Coronavirus

The current Coranavirus outbreak means people are being asked to stay at home and isolate where possible. For people experiencing domestic abuse, this is an anxious time as you may feel isolated with someone who is violent or abusive towards you or your children.

This page offers information and practical assistance and puts you in touch with specialist support organisations who can help.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted.

If you can’t use a voice phone, you can register with the police text service – text REGISTER to 999.  You will get a text which tells you what to do next.  Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger. Find out more about emergency SMS.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is when a family member (e.g. your partner, ex, spouse, ex-spouse, adult daughter / son) causes you harm. The abuse could be of different types – physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological. Acts of domestic abuse including violence against a person, rape and sexual assault, coercive control, harassment, stalking and forced marriage are all illegal. Domestic abuse can affect anyone, of any age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and living in any neighbourhood.

You may feel frightened and ashamed. You may feel isolated from family and friends. Domestic abuse is not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available to anyone who needs it.

Safety Planning: if you are unsafe in your home

Create a safety plan that you and your children know and can use to get help:

  • If you are in immediate danger call 999. Try to leave the property. Go to a neighbour, trusted person or public place.
  • If you can’t leave, you can still use one of the Domestic Abuse Helplines to ask for help.
  • Use opportunities such as when the perpetrator is out or in the bathroom to ask for help.
  • Keep keys, money, essential medication and a spare set of clothes in a bag that can be picked up quickly.
  • Keep important documents, such as driving licence, birth certificates, or passport, bank cards, benefit books in a safe place or give copies to a trusted person.
  • Teach your children how and when to call 999 and to say their address.
  • Keep your mobile phone with you and fully charged. You don’t need to be in credit to make 999 calls.
  • Identify a trusted person (family/ friend/ colleague) to check in with you. Agree a code word – which if you use it, means you’re not safe and need help.

How to help your neighbour if you overhear violent domestic abuse

If you are worried that a neighbour may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse, think about reporting it to the police. Your neighbour may need your help to prevent harm and keep them safe, so it’s important to know what to do.

You can report anonymously. Contact Crimestoppers online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/  or phone 0800 555111. Your neighbour will not know who has reported.

If you think it is an emergency, phone 999.

If it is not an emergency you can report direct to the police at https://www.reportingcrime.uk/ or by phoning 101.

Help a friend or a relative

It can be difficult to know how to support someone who you suspect is experiencing domestic abuse. Equation have released helpful guidance on what to say if you think a friend or relative is experiencing domestic abuse

  • Be safe: it’s the no.1 priority
  • Be kind: make suggestions, not demands
  • Be there: whether they leave, or stay

Help and Information

The Hestia’s Bright Sky App (if safe to do so) is free to download on mobile phones.

The Hestia app covers:

  • Understand the Signs of Abuse
  • Complete the ‘Am I at Risk?’ Questionnaire
  • A personal journal to record evidence
  • A directory of local and national specialist Domestic Abuse support services

Available in: English, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish.

If you are not in immediate danger, please call one of the following helplines:

England: Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline:
0808 2000 247 (run by Refuge)

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

Respect helpline: 0808 802 4040 (for anyone worried that they may be harming someone else)

Galop: 0800 999 5428 (national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic abuse)

Forced Marriage Unit: 0207 008 0151

Paladin – National Stalking Advocacy Service: 020 3866 4107

Citizens Advice National Helpline: 03444 111 444. You can also contact your local office by phone, email and some provide a web service. Check your local office website for the most up to date information on contact details.

If you suspect that an abuser is monitoring your internet usage, find out how to hide your browser history.

To find your local domestic abuse support service you can use the Women’s Aid Directory of Service for England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Where telephone support is not safe

Women’s Aid have online services to support victim/survivors.

These include:

  • Women’s Aid live chat service Instant messaging service (Monday to Friday, 10 am to 12 pm).
  • Email support (response within five days).
  • Survivor’s handbook (help on housing, safety planning, dealing with police and more).
  • Online survivor’s forum.

Contact us at MTVH 0203 535 3535

If you have any questions regarding your housing needs we can offer confidential advice and, if appropriate, a referral to partnering agencies. Information will not be shared with third parties without your consent unless we believe there is significant risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult.

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