We know that if you are currently experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse you understand what being isolated and frightened feels like. It can be very worrying being in lockdown with someone who is harming you. We want to give you information to help you think about what you might do over the coming weeks to stay safe. You are not alone, there are many services continuing to work to support all people impacted by domestic abuse.
Remember you are an expert in your own situation and only take on advice that feels safe and relevant to you. It is important to try and think about the things that may change or make you more unsafe, especially thinking through now how you might get help if you need it. You can survive this, you have the strength to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Can you find space and time to contact family, friends and neighbours?
- Can you FaceTime or call someone you trust?
- Can you talk to them about what’s happening and how that concerns you?
- Arrange for this trusted person to call you regularly so you know they will be in touch at certain times of the week
- Work out a code word or phrase between you to let them know it isn’t safe to talk and for them to call the police on your behalf
- If you can, download phone apps which will help you. The Brightsky app will help you find domestic abuse services, you can also use this to record notes and make a journal and the Hollie Guard app turns your smartphone into a personal safety device.
- If you are not self-isolating make the excuse there are no online shopping slots available so you need go to the shops, use the Bright Sky app. and speak to someone in your local domestic abuse service about what is happening, they can help you if you have to leave in an emergency, as well as support you discreetly if you remain living at home.
- If you, or someone you know, 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 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. To find out more about this click here.
Websites and useful numbers and guides:
Remember, accessing information online may feel like the best option for you at this time. If you do access any information online you may need to delete your browser history or use ‘private browsing’ as a way to hide your searches. Below are some useful links to further information:
- SafeLives guide to staying safe online
- Women’s Aid guide to private browsing
- Guide to technology safety
- Making a safety plan, Women’s Aid
- The Survivor’s Handbook, Women’s Aid
- Guidance on economic abuse during COVID-19, Surviving Economic Abuse
- Karma Nirvana – UK helpline for ‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage 0800 5999 247
- Freephone 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
- LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 email@example.com
- Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are a series of links to helpful short films that have been created by Safer Cornwall. These provide excellent advice on what to do if you are experiencing domestic abuse and need to prepare for or take emergency action to make yourself and your family safe regardless of where you live. They are all also available on their Facebook page:
- How to actively encourage people to reach out and call for help if they are at risk of harm
- Brief tips and advice on staying safe at home, for people living with their abuser
- Preparing a “Get Up & Go Bag” to be ready should someone need to flee escalating abuse
- What to do if you live with your abuser and the abuse is escalating to the point where you need to get to safety
- Keeping a journal and giving yourself options
If you or someone you know is feeling concerned about managing abusive behaviours in these difficult times and don’t want situations to escalate then there is help available by contacting Respect which provides confidential advice to perpetrators about violence and domestic abuse. The Respect Phone Line website helps people to look at de-escalation and self-management techniques which in turn helps them to maintain non-harmful, non-abusive behaviours. The Respect phone line 0808 8024040 is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
To find out more and report domestic abuse, please click here.