The current lockdown has changed all of our daily lives, many of us are making the best of it and enjoying the extra time with our families. But for some, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” does not ring true – due to domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is the banner heading for all violent and non-violent abuse in the home. The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown started. Being on lockdown with abusive partners is putting abused people at significant risk with possible increased frequency and intensity of assault and not being able to leave or get time away from their abuser by going to work, socialising or seeing family. For an abuser, lockdown may be the perfect situation to exert even more control over their partners.
Things you can do if you are in an abusive situation:
Phone the Police
If you are assaulted/abused in any way, phone the police. This may seem scary and you may feel like you are going into the unknown but the police take domestic abuse extremely seriously and will do everything they can to make you and your family safe by removing your abuser from the home. No-one should have to put up with abuse. If you phone 999 then can’t talk, coughing or tapping in 55 on the keypad will signal to the call operator that you are in danger, allowing them to send officers to your location.
Keep a Record of Evidence of the Abuse
Write information down, text or email yourself or a friend every time you are abused – what led up to the event, what he or she did, any witnesses, take pictures of any injuries you have. Go to or phone your GP and give details of the assault. This record can be used by police to charge your abuser. Often people don’t realise how bad things are, seeing it written down can be a turning point and can spark the decision to leave the relationship.
Pack a Bag of Essential Things
Include all important documents like yours/your children’s passports, birth certificates etc., along with some clothes, toiletries and your child’s favourite toy. Hide this somewhere and have it ready to lift if and when you leave.
Telling a friend, family member, neighbour (ask them to call the police for you if they hear an incident) or helpline worker about the abuse you are suffering will help. Talking will help preserve your wellbeing and may help you to plan ending your relationship.
The priority is to keep yourself and your family safe, use these tips and the contacts below to make life better.
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/
- Women’s Aid – https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/
- The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
- The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
- National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
- Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123
If you are struggling and need help, our Living Life to the Full courses can be accessed for free online HERE, with a range of additional resources, ebooks and audio files.