Support for domestic abuse
Social distancing measures, introduced to fight the spread of coronavirus and protect our NHS, have changed our lives considerably. For many, the order to stay at home can be overwhelming, particularly for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse.
It is important to remember that help and support is available, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. You are not alone.
The government has specified:
'The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse'.
On this webpage, we have compiled some useful information, online resources, advice helplines and support agencies for anyone seeking help.
For a full list of support, visit the government publication: Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-announces-support-for-domestic-abuse-victims
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to:
- coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
- economic abuse
- online abuse
- verbal abuse
- emotional abuse
- sexual abuse
What signs to look for
If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:
- being withdrawn
- having bruises
- controlling finances
- not being allowed to leave the house
- monitoring technology use such as social media platforms
Where to get help
If you believe you are being abused, or worried you may commit domestic abuse, please use the services on this page.
If you suspect that your neighbours or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Then follow the instructions depending on whether you are calling from a mobile or a landline.
If you call from a mobile
If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard - this will transfer your call to the police.
Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.
If you call 999 from a landline
If only background noise can be heard and BT operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, then you will be connected to a police call handler.
If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.
When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.
- Lancashire Victim Support: Guidance on staying safe when self isolating with your abuser during the Coronavirus pandemic available now.
Chayn: Online help and resources in a number of languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.
pdf Support for victims of domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic (138 KB) - Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria
- pdf What to do if you need urgent police help through the 999 service, but can't speak (296 KB) - Independent Office for Police Conduct, Silent Solution guide.
Helplines and online support:
National Domestic Violence helpline: 0800 2000 247 (call free and in confidence, open 24 hours).
Refuge operates the National Domestic Violence helpline which provides guidance and support for potential victims. Their website also offers information for victims as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. It also has a form through which you can book a safe time for a call from the team.
Clare House (South Ribble): 01772 435865
Galop (National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse specialist helpline): 0800 999 5428
Lancashire Victim Services: 0300 323 0085
Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
NEST Lancashire: 0300 111 0323
Safenet: 0300 3033 581
Samaritans:116 123 (24 hours)
Women's Aid: Live Chat Service (https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/)
Hestia provides a free mobile app, Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
For more advice and guidance on domestic abuse, please see Domestic abuse: how to get help.