Domestic Abuse Advice/Covid-19
Advice for victims of domestic abuse during the Coronavirus Pandemic
The government acknowledges that the order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.
While the current advice is to stay at home during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the government has made it clear anyone who is at risk or, or experiencing domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, there is help and support available to you. You can make a referral for support through Victims First by completing our online form at ‘Make a Referral’ from our home page
You can also talk directly to domestic abuse services. Contact details for the services in the Thames Valley are below along with the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Thames Valley Police are available 24/7 to provide help and support. In an emergency, people should always call 999. If you can’t speak, call 999 and then dial 55. This is called the Silent Solution, and the call taker will sensitively manage the police response. In a non-emergency, people can call 101 or make a report online on the Thames Valley Police's website
If you are living with a perpetrator in self-isolation you may want to think about a safety plan. A safety plan is a way of helping you to protect yourself and your children. It helps you plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse.
Thing you can do to help increase your safety include:
- Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers (for example, your local domestic abuse service, the police domestic violence unit; your GP and the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247). If you have a phone, save them on your phone as a different contact. If you don’t have a phone, know where your nearest phone is.
- Plan how you will make a call for support e.g. you could say there are no online shopping slots available so you need to go shopping, or you could make the call from the toilet of the shop if the perpetrator is there.
- Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they would need to say (for example, their full name, address and telephone number).
- As shops and restaurants/pubs are shut, plan for where you can run to or hide. Are there neighbours you could trust and where you could go in an emergency? If so, tell them what is going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack.
- Have a code word or sign for if you are in danger. Set this up for family and friends to let them know by text / Facetime / skype / zoom. The code will need to alert them to contact the police if you are in danger and need to get out. Teach the code to age appropriate children.
- Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children, and hide it somewhere safe for example, at a neighbour’s house.
- Be prepared to leave the house in an emergency.
Women's Aid has also developed safety and support advice for survivors and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with 23 domestic abuse and VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) organisations. You can download the resources here
Government guidance on support for domestic abuse during the Covid-19 Pandemic can be found here