During the COVID-19 outbreak charities and emergency services have seen incidents of domestic abuse and violence soar.
Thousands of women, men and children are struggling because of the lockdown situation, and in many instances are being completely isolated with their abuser.
We want to assure anyone who is experiencing any level of domestic abuse that there is help out there; and here are some of the ways in which you can help to protect yourself if you find yourself in this situation:
- Keep your phone and mobile devices charged at all times.
- Keep your phone with you at all times.
- Keep a spare phone charger in your bag/car.
- Keep yourself safe whilst you are in the house. Wherever possible, stay away from the garage and the kitchen where sharp and heavy objects might be.
- Work out a plan of how you can leave the house quickly if you ever need to.
- Work out how your children will be able to escape from the house. If they are old enough to understand, consider having a conversation with them about this being a possibility so that they know what to do if you need to leave in a hurry.
- If you can, keep a packed bag at a friend or family members house. This should contain some form of official ID (such as a passport or driving license), money and a bank card in case you need to get away quickly.
- Work out a code that you can use to secretly alert your friend or family member that you are in danger and they need to call the police.
If your devices such as phone, laptop, tablet are being monitored by the person you are afraid of, you can still contact charities, emergency services and social services by using their websites. They all have fast exit buttons – like the one on this page – so that you can get away from these pages quickly if you need to.
ALWAYS CALL 999 IN AN EMERGENCY.
There is a ‘Silent Solution’ option if you place your call from a mobile, so you don’t need to give a lot of details that could potentially be overheard.
Once you are connected press 55 and you will be transferred to the relevant police force. The police call handler will only ask you yes/no questions. They will then give you instructions as to what to do and they will send help. They have the technology to track you from the location of your mobile phone.
If you are calling from a landline, dial 999 and you will be connected to a police call handler. If you suddenly need to put the phone down the line will stay open for 45 seconds, so you can pick the receiver up again and the operator will still be there. The police might be able to work out where you are if you are unable to tell them yourself.
Victoria Price at Price Slater Gawne Solicitors in Altrincham says:
“Charities such as Women’s Aid, Refuge and Barnados are all there to help you as are social services, health personnel and the emergency services. Even under lockdown – they will get to you if you need help.
“You might also want to think about making your GP or practice nurse aware of your situation. If you have a health visitor or midwife that comes to the house or even a delivery person, neighbour or local shop keeper – if you can find a way to tell them what is happening then we’d implore you to do so – they will get help to you.
“Speak to whoever you can – whether that’s face to face, by phone, on a webpage, by text or email. At the minute, we have no idea how long this lockdown will last for. Everyone has the right to feel safe and there is help out there. You just need to find the courage and ask for it.
“If you need legal help then call us. At Price Slater Gawne we offer sympathetic, objective advice and we will ensure that any issues concerning a domestic abuse situation is resolved with the least amount of stress and worry.
“Additionally, if you or your children have been a victim of any form of abuse, it’s possible that you will be able to claim compensation for what has happened to you via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This money can provide a vital lifeline for you to help set up your future. Whether the abuse occurred during the COVID – 19 lockdown or not – don’t delay, as there is a 2-year deadline. So you need to move quickly to be eligible. Feel free to save our contact details for future reference.”
Tel: 0161 615 5554
Webchat: click the link on this page.