If you’re in danger of domestic abuse and violence in lockdown, take advice from an experienced family lawyer. We’re in the office ready to take your call and we can also assist you by Skype. But if you’re in immediate danger of violence, phone the police. See below for the ‘”Silent Solution“ – how to phone the police when you’re too frightened to speak. There’s a lot of misinformation about this service, make sure you understand it before you phone.
Lockdown is hard, especially if your home is not safe because you share it with an abuser – this might be a partner, family member, friend, or flatmate.
Below are links for women, men, children, LGBT+, BME, disabled, deaf etc experiencing abuse.
Women and children are dying
Lockdown can be the trigger event that turns a domestic abuser into a murderer. In the first three weeks of lockdown, fourteen women and two children were killed by men. This is double the average. The charity Refuge reports that on one day alone, calls to its domestic violence helpline increased by 120 percent (link to helpline below). Recently the charity has reported a 957 percent increase in traffic to its website. There’s an unprecedented demand for refuge places (link below).
What is domestic abuse
An abuser controls what time you eat, go out, go to bed. They criticise you and tell you what to wear, deny you food and other essentials, keep you away from family and friends. They use or threaten violence and sexual violence against you or your children. In lockdown, their aim of control and secrecy has been achieved – no one will see the bruises they inflict.
Plan your escape
Keep a bag packed or keep essentials by you: your phone, phone charger, medication, credit cards. If possible, agree a signal or coded message with a friend – if you have to flee your home you may need their assistance. Government advice is that during lockdown you can leave your home to escape domestic abuse.
How to help a victim
If you think your friend, or family member, or neighbour is in danger of Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown, set up a time to talk. Give them details of charities and agencies (see below). Assure them the police and support services are there to help them, even during this time of crisis. Help them make an escape plan.
Are you a key worker delivering post or goods to private homes? If you suspect any of the residents are in danger, call the police. Don’t intervene.
Phone the police from your mobile – the “silent solution”
If you are in immediate danger of violence, phone 999 and ask for the police. But if you can’t speak:
- phone 999
- stay silent and listen carefully – merely phoning 999 and staying silent is not enough
- when prompted, press 55
- again, listen carefully, you will be asked a series of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions. If you can’t answer, listen carefully
- making this call doesn’t mean the police will know your location – although if you call from your landline they should do.
Phone the police from your landline
The “silent solution” is NOT available on landlines – you will need to speak or make some noise to alert the call handler to your need for police assistance. If you replace the handset, the call remains live for 45 seconds. Pick it up and speak or alert the call handler to the emergency.
Text the police
Text REGISTER to 999 and follow the instructions.
“Clare’s Law” – does your partner have a violent past
Under “Clare’s Law” you have the right to ask the police to check whether a new, former or existing partner has a violent past:
- visit a police station (the household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse)
- phone 101
- speak to a member of the police on the street
Ask the Court for protection
Consult an expert family lawyer in strictest confidence. The Court can make orders to protect you:
- Non molestation injunction – this prohibits an abuser from using or threatening violence against you, or harassing, pestering or intimidating you. The police can arrest the abuser if they breach the order
- Occupation order – this will say who can live in the home, or enter the surrounding area
- If you’re not, and never have been, in a relationship with your abuser, and you’re not related to them, there is protection under the Protection from Harassment Act.
Charities & Helplines
Helpline – Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown
Are you experiencing domestic abuse? You are not alone. Refuge and Women’s Aid are here to help.
- Phone Refuge’s free National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247
- Complete Refuge’s online contact form to say how and when you would like to be contacted
- Visit Refuge
- Visit Women’s Aid
Rape and sexual assault
Are you hurting the ones you love?
Families affected by domestic abuse
Family Lives provide support through online forums. Find advice on all aspects of family life
Galop the LGBT+ anti-violence charity 0800 999 5428
Wales Live Fear Free Helpline 0808 8010 800 Providing help and advice about violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence
Black minority ethnic
Imkaan is a UK-based, Black feminist organisation. It is the only national second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minority women and girls – those defined as Black and ‘Minority Ethnic’ (BME). It is not a direct service provider, and can’t offer individual advice or support.
Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women
Southall Black Sisters is a group of black and minority women with years of experience meeting the needs of Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. They provide information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to women and children experiencing domestic and other forms of gender-related violence. They do not offer emergency help.
Guide to escaping domestic violence – in many languages
Three Steps to Escaping Domestic Violence is published by the Home Office in English, Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Pashto, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, Welsh
Honour based and forced marriage
Karma Nirvana runs a national honour-based abuse helpline.Telephone: 0800 5999 247
Stay Safe East provides support services to disabled people who are victims/survivors of domestic or sexual violence, hate crime, harassment and other forms of abuse. They provide advice and not emergency response.
SignHealth work to improve the health and wellbeing of deaf people.
Children suffering Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown
- The UK Children’s Charity NSPCC 0808 800 5000 – if you are worried about a child.
- If you are a child, phone Childline – a free, private and confidential service if you’re 18 or under in the UK. Share your feelings on 0800 1111
- Children affected by domestic abuse are some of the most vulnerable in the country. Barnardo’s provide support to families affected by domestic abuse.
Bright Sky app
Hestia provides help and assistance. Its Bright Sky app is a free to download mobile app. It provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship – or those concerned about someone they know. Please only download the Bright Sky app if it is safe to do so and you are sure that your mobile phone is not being monitored.
Support for under 25s
The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
Rights of women
Rights of Women free telephone advice lines providing women with legal advice and information on a wide range of legal issues including domestic violence, child contact, sexual violence.
DWP – benefits available to victims of domestic abuse.
Chayn is a global volunteer network addressing gender-based violence by creating intersectional survivor-led resources online. Helping women experiencing abuse find the right information and support they need to take control of their lives.
If you are having difficulty coping, or you are concerned about someone else, the Samaritans are here to help you. They are waiting for your call. Call for free on 116 123
Shelter helps people facing urgent housing issues.
Employers – concerned about your employees?
Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse is a growing network of large and small businesses. Their mission is to enable employers to take action on domestic abuse by raising awareness among all employees, supporting those affected, and providing support and education to help perpetrators to stop. This can help to reduce the wall of silence about domestic abuse that prevents many from seeking help.
See the employers’ toolkit Business in the Community. The cost of domestic abuse to business is estimated at £1.9 billion a year in decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay. It has an adverse impact on staff morale, as well as on an organisation’s image and reputation.
Training for frontline domestic abuse services
Safelives provide research, training and support for frontline domestic abuse services and professionals. They are developing a response to the perpetrators of domestic abuse to change their behaviour.
Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown
Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.
The topics covered in this blog post Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.
image for Domestic Abuse and Violence in Lockdown Woman Staring Out Window by Rhoda Baer on Wikimedia