COVID-19: Domestic abuse

Staying at home over the coming weeks will cause most people some concerns. However, for adults and children living with domestic abuse this is likely to be a particularly difficult and worrying time.

Here we will be sharing information and links to support those experiencing domestic violence.

Importantly, if you or someone else is in immediate danger, 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.

The Government’s advice and guidance for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is behaviour from a family member, partner or ex-partner that is controlling, coercive, threatening, violent or abusive, and happens between people aged over 16.

Domestic abuse can happen to men or women. It includes the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

You are not alone: finding support

Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, there is lots of support out there online and on the telephone.

1) Somerset survivors

Somerset survivors has got lots of information to support those experiencing domestic abuse – find their website here.

If you want to talk to someone about domestic abuse, you can contact the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline on 0800 69 49 999. Lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively you can email them on youfirstsidas@theyoutrust.org.uk

2) Safe Lives

Safe Lives, the UK charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse have a lot of information about how to seek help if you are experiencing domestic abuse, including some pages dedicated to the coronavirus situation here.

Their website links to online support including the Women’s Aid online chat service which is open from 10am to 12pm Monday to Friday. You can find that here.

3) Crimestoppers

If you are concerned someone else is experiencing domestic violence, you can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously. Call them on 0800 555 111 or online.

Their website has lots of information about domestic abuse, how to spot the signs of domestic abuse and who to turn to for help.

Due to their anonymity guarantee, Crimestoppers can’t take information from victims of crime. However, they list a range of resources that you can turn to for help, including those listed under ‘other resources’ below.

4) Other resources

You can also seek help and support from the following organisations:

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline if it’s not an emergency and you don’t want to call the police, contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, a 24 hour freephone number (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) on 0808 2000 247 available 7 days a week.
  • Men’s advice line is a confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members).
  • Refuge is a UK charity providing specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Victim Support is an independent charity in England and Wales that provides specialist practical and emotional support to victims and witnesses of crime.
  • Galop is the UK’s only specialist LGBT+ anti-violence charity who have a National LGBT/ DA Helpline.
  • The Silent Solution helps people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need police assistance. If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine.
  • Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse have published help for employees when home is not a safe place. Their guidance also provides information for employers whose staff may be facing domestic abuse.

Advice for children and young people

Childline has information and support around domestic abuse aimed at children and young people. The website provides information about how to cope if you are feeling unsafe at home, how to make a safety plan and where to get support. Head to their website here.

The Hideout is website which provides space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it’s happening to them. Find out more on their website.

There is advice about how to keep children and young people safe at home elsewhere on the Healthy Somerset. Find out more here.

#NoClosedDoors2020

Somerset County Council has launched a campaign making people aware of the different types of abuse, the signs of abuse and how to get help.

With domestic abuse affecting 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, the chances are we all know someone who is suffering behind closed doors – we urge you to support the campaign on Twitter and Facebook – your shared post may be someone’s only path to a life free of abuse.