If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not safe to speak, you can use the silent solution system from a mobile phone – call 999 and then press 55 when prompted. The operator will then put you through to the police. The police will try to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions. If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so they can assess your call and arrange help if needed.
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. Please do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.
If you are not in immediate danger, the following numbers might be helpful:
West Mercia Woman’s Aid – 0800 783 1359
The helpline offers confidential support, information, advice and access to refuge or emergency accommodation where necessary. It's a free-phone number, staffed 24 hours a day by trained workers. If you're calling from a mobile you can request for a call back.
- England: Freephone 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
You can set a code word and send a message to the helpline to either contact you by phone or email. They can also contact an alternative number you provide, such as for a friend’s phone. If you are asking them to contact you by email, it is important your email is safe and not checked by the abuser.
- Scotland: Scotland’s 24h Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234
- Wales: 24h Life Fear Free Helpline: 0808 80 10 800
Live chat is also available or you can email info@ livefearfreehelpline.wales. A 24-hour text service can be accessed on 07860 077333
- Northern Ireland: 24h Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
- Victim Support National 24 hour Supportline: 0808 1689 111
- LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 firstname.lastname@example.org (Mon, Tues and Fri, 10am–5pm; Weds and Thurs, 10am–8pm)
- Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 email@example.com (Mon and Weds, 9am–8pm; Tues, Thurs and Fri, 9am–5pm. Web chat service is also available)
- Karma Nirvana, UK Helpline for ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247
- Childline Freephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week 0800 1111. Childline provides free confidential advice and support for all people up to 19 years old
- Elder abuse – Hourglass helpline (also known as Action on Elder Abuse) 0808 808 8141 (Monday – Friday 9am -5pm) provides confidential information and support to anyone concerned about harm, abuse or exploitation of an older person. This might include physical, financial, psychological, sexual or neglect.
- Age UK Advice Line 0800 678 1174
- An Easy Read Leaflet is available here
Online resources for domestic abuse
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.
Surviving Economic Abuse have produced some useful guidance on economic abuse while self-isolating, as well as practical issues including benefits and sick pay. The guidance is updated regularly on their website as the situation changes.
Rights of Women have produced some useful guidance about child contact arrangements in the current pandemic. Many families will have to make changes to the arrangements that were in place but how significant those changes are will depend on the circumstances of the individual family.
Children and young people can also access support through The Hide Out, Young Minds and Child Line.
There are also free resources available for children on https://www.monkeybob.org.uk/
Domestic abuse impacts the whole family, particularly when schools are closed and children are at home. West Sussex Connect service have kindly provided this Parent Pack, full of useful ideas for activities to do with children, links to educational resources, and helpful advice for helping children to talk about their worries.
Live chats and forums:
Women’s Aid online chat service
Open Monday-Friday 10am – 4pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-12pm
Victim Support free, confidential live chat is open 24/7, and there is a Support Space covering topics such as difficult emotions, coping strategies, trauma and sleep
Women’s Aid survivor forum
Provides a safe and anonymous space for women (over 18) who have been affected by domestic abuse to share their experiences and support one another.
- If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you have rights to seek confidential housing information, or emergency accommodation from the local authority, which retains a duty to place you if necessary.
- Where possible keep a mobile charged
- Agree code words, a blank text or emoji with friends, family or professionals, to alert them to call the police.
- Talk to children about where they should go in the house to keep safe.
- Consider downloading phone apps, which will help you. The Brightsky app will help you find services and the Hollie Gazzard app turns your smartphone into a personal safety device.
- Consider the layout of your house so you can think about any places of safety?
- If you had to leave in an emergency do you know where you would go? Remember many shops/restaurants/pubs will be shut. If someone you trust is doing is your shopping for you could you write a message on the shopping list asking for help?
- Have a bag packed ready and if you can, leave this at a trusted friend/family/neighbour’s home.
- This should contain medical essentials, important documents including passports/driving license. Maybe the service you are in touch with could keep copies of these documents?
- Have a code word/sign to signal you are in danger – set this up for family and friends to let them know by text/FaceTime/skype. The code will need to alert them to contact the police if you are in danger.
- Teach the code to children who are old enough to understand what you are asking of them and why.
- Have a little bit of money hidden away in case you need this to leave.
- Do you need a separate mobile which you can use just to call for help? The service you are in touch with may be able to supply this.
- If there are times you know you can talk, share this with your specialist worker and agree how you will reach each other.
- Use the fact that there are no online shopping slots available to go to the shop and speak to someone.
- Now would be a good time to consider whether there is someone else you could move in with e.g. a vulnerable family member who will need your support. Consider that you will be self-isolating for long periods.
- Silent calls to police – dial 999 – then 55 when prompted if you can’t talk – see here.
Date Published: 28 May 2020