Coronavirus - domestic abuse support

Last updated: 7 April 2021

This is a very difficult time for everyone, but it is especially worrying for any adults or children living with abuse.

You are not alone

One of the most important things you need to know is that you are not alone. Domestic abuse is one of the most common under-reported or 'hidden' crimes. It can be hard to accept that a loved one can behave so aggressive and because you can't explain their behaviour, you may think you are to blame. But victims are never to blame. No one deserves to be assaulted, abused or humiliated. It is the perpetrator’s behaviour that needs to change.

What to look out for – signs of domestic abuse

Signs of domestic abuse are not always as obvious as you might think, and it’s 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
  • physical abuse

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, here are some of the signs that you can look out for:

  • being withdrawn
  • having bruises
  • controlling finances
  • not being allowed to leave the house
  • monitoring technology use such as social media platforms
  • damage to the property
  • a sense that something isn’t quite right

Are you in immediate danger?

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the Police. 

If you need urgent help but don’t feel safe enough to speak, use the Silent Solution system and call 999. Listen to the questions from the 999 operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can – if you can’t, press 55 when prompted. This lets the operator know it’s a genuine emergency and you’ll be put through to the Police.

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. Be sure to do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.

Visit Emergency SMS to find out more

Help available

There is lots of information and support out there and don’t forget that we are here to help. Click here to visit our domestic support page or contact us on 0300 123 1966 and select ‘concern for an individual’s welfare’. You can also speak to us via Live Chat.  

More information and support from the Government

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Refuge run the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which you can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Their website provides guidance and support for potential 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.

Refuge’s website includes a range of resources on identifying the signs of domestic abuse, as well as a safety guide for women, young people and children. It also provides support with legal options and features a tech abuse chat-bot with step-by-step instructional videos on how to secure devices such as phones and laptops. Look for the pink button in the bottom-right corner.

SafeLives has lots of advice on domestic abuse, as well as resources on how to stay safe and where to seek help during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to visit the SafeLives website.

Safenet offer domestic abuse support services across the North West of England, with support services in Burnley, Lancaster, Blackpool, Rochdale, Preston, Chorley, Leyland and Wyre. Contact them on 0300 3033 or visit the Safenet website.

Women’s Aid has a range of direct services for survivors, including a live chat service and a survivor’s handbook. There is also an online forum where you can speak to other women in their supportive community of survivors.

They have developed additional advice specifically designed for the current coronavirus outbreak. You can also find your local domestic abuse service on their website. They also provide information on the support helplines available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them.

Telephone: 0808 801 0327 offers lots of guidance and information on how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.