We know that COVID-19 will have serious impacts on the lives of families living within domestic abuse households. Survivors are telling us as a sector that they are feeling unsafe with the prospect of being isolated in the house with their perpetrator.
Try and keep a mobile phone with you at all times if possible. The police are a key service when in immediate danger. Do not be afraid to call 999 in an emergency.
This is a system for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger and escalation of harm if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency.
When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to audibly signal to the operator, the call will be forwarded to an operating system.
If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. Click here to find out more.
Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Deaf Hope provides practical and emotional support to deaf women experiencing domestic abuse: www.signhealth.org.uk
Emergency SMS provides a text message service for deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired people in the UK to send SMS messages to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the Police: www.emergencysms.net/
On Line Live Chat
Women’s Aid Live Chat is currently available Monday to Friday 10- 12pm. This could be a safer way to access some support; particularly if an abuser might also be in the property so it would be unsafe to make a telephone call.
It will be important to familiarise yourself with information and guidance that will help to keep you as safe as possible when using online platforms: www.womensaid.org.uk/cover-your-tracks-online/
The President of the Family Division has released ‘Guidance on Compliance with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders’ during COVID 19: www.judiciary.uk/announcements/coronavirus-crisis-guidance-on-compliance-with-family-court-child-arrangement-orders/
The guidance does not include specific advice in cases of domestic abuse, but states that if parents cannot agree to an arrangement they may exercise their parental responsibility and vary the arrangement to one that they consider safe. If a contact arrangement is varied because of COVID 19, the courts expect alternative arrangements – such as video calls – to be made.
If a survivor has concerns around the family court, it will be useful to look at the CAFCASS website for guidance. They are regularly updating their information: www.cafcass.gov.uk/2020/03/18/coronavirus-covid-19-update-on-cafcass-preparedness/
Be mindful of sharing details such as your address, phone number or email address with your abuser that could compromise your safety. If your abuser turns up at your property without agreement do not allow him in as this could escalate the risk to you and your children. Call 999 if you are feeling threatened.
The NHS have confirmed that no charges will be made in the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). This applies to everyone living in the UK, regardless of your immigration status.
No immigration checks are required for testing or treatment for COVID-19, so please access healthcare if you need to: www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide
Are you worried about a friend, family member or neighbour?
You might be particularly concerned about a family member or a friend now especially if they will be at home with their abuser. Always encourage them to call 999 in an emergency.
Encourage them to reach out for support:
|Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service||0300 303 1191 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Women’s Aid||Survivors’ Forum, Live Chat or Email.|
|Men's Advice Line||0808 801 0327|
|West Mercia Women’s Aid||0800 783 1359|
Do not approach the perpetrator about their behaviour, this could escalate the abuse and put them in further danger. It is also important that you do not put yourself in a dangerous situation.
Are you a Perpetrator looking for help?
The Respect phone line is a key source of support for people concerned about their behaviour and wanting to manage and change it. Now more than ever, the Respect phone line will be essential for perpetrators and others who are finding it difficult to manage their behaviour.
https://respectphoneline.org.uk/ Freephone 0808 8024040
Heres a short video from Women's Aid: