Domestic Abuse Support
Domestic Abuse Support
External newsletter from Warwickshire County Council
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen all of us retreat into our homes to stay safe with our family and loved ones. However, for those suffering from domestic abuse, staying at home is as worrying as catching the virus.
Abuse needn’t just be physical, it can also take the form of psychological, emotional, financial and online harm too. As we all come together to help our local communities, you can play a small part in protecting friends, neighbours and colleagues, who you may suspect are suffering at the hands of an abuser.
Refuge – Warwickshire Domestic Violence Service provides support and can signpost victims of abuse to relevant services and offer them respite in the form of shelters and rape crisis centres. They have pulled together a list of tips and advice to look out for, if you are suspicious that a neighbour or loved one is suffering from domestic abuse.
- Engage with the victim and ask them to reach out to supportive family and friends who can help practically (e.g. food, childcare) as well as in coping with stress.
- Together develop a safety plan for them and their children’s safety in case the violence gets worse. This includes keeping numbers of neighbours, friends and family who can be called on for help; have accessible important documents, money, a few personal things ready to go if they need to leave immediately; make a plan how they can exit the house and access help (please go to www.refuge.org.uk for a list of partners who can help).
- Help them to keep information about violence against women hotlines, social workers, child protection or nearest police station, shelters or support services that are accessible.
- Always help them to be discrete so that their partner or family members do not find out and they can keep safe.
If you are suffering abuse:
Remember you are not alone. Domestic abuse is never ok and you do not need to suffer in silence. Help is at hand and support services continue to be available across Warwickshire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know that for some people, the rules around social distancing and remaining at home can mean that they are at greater risk of suffering abuse, especially if this means they spend an extended period of time with the perpetrator of the abuse.
However, the rules around social distancing do not prevent someone from leaving home to seek help if they are suffering abuse. Refuges remain open and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused - physically, emotionally, or otherwise.
If you are in immediate danger:
Always call 999 in an emergency; if you are unable to speak on the phone, there are systems in place to connect you to the right service:
- If you are calling from a mobile phone, you can use the ‘Silent Solution’ system. Press 55 and the operator will transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. The police call handler will then ask you a series of simple yes/no questions. If you’re still not able to speak, listen to the instructions you are given so the handler can assess your call and send help. Please note that calling from a mobile does not allow the police to track your location.
- If you are calling from a landline, pressing ‘55’ will not work. If you can’t speak you should stay on the line and the operator will connect you to a police call handler. If you need to put the phone down, the line will stay open for 45 seconds. If you pick it up again during this time and the operator is concerned for your safety, they will put you through to a police call handler. Calling 999 from a landline means the police may be able to retrieve information on your location to send help.
For further information about relevant partners and advice and tips for abuse victims please go to www.refuge.org.uk or call 0800 408 1552. Remember in an emergency please call 999.