Support for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, help is still available. At Sutton Housing Partnership, our priority is to keep residents and staff safe during the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
With current UK Government guidelines urging us all to stay at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are fully aware that this can have a serious impact on victims of domestic abuse, and can make it more difficult for you to access safety and support.
Even though the recent Government guidelines state that we should all be staying at home at the moment, for some people, it simply is not safe to do so. You will not be punished by the authorities for accessing help during the COVID-19 outbreak. Police will attend if you need them.
Worried about a neighbour? More than ever right now, it’s really important that we look after each other, and we’re asking our communities to please come together and be extra vigilant around any possible signs of domestic abuse. If you’re worried about your neighbour, you can report this anonymously. You may save a life in the process; we urge you to be aware of anything unusual and let us know.
We’d like to assure you that we are still here to support anyone who is experiencing (or at risk of) domestic abuse at this uncertain time and we can help you to seek advice and a safe space if needed.
Please see below details of organisations who can help you and safety information.
Organisations who can help you
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know someone who is, help is available. If you are concerned for your safety, you are not alone and there will always be someone on the end of the phone to listen.
If someone is in immediate danger, dial 999. Silent Solution - if you can’t speak, then cough or make a noise then tap 55 on the keypad and follow instructions.
Not Alone in Sutton: This website provides information about support available in the local area. The site also lists services here available for specific groups (older people, BAME, LGBT, men, young people, people with disabilities and for perpetrators).
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: Call 0800 2000 247 for a free 24-hour helpline that can provide victims/survivors with emotional support and advice on their options. If telephoning for help is more difficult, you can complete an online contact form which allows you to request a safe time to be called back.
Women’s Aid: Where telephone support is not safe, Women’s Aid has online services to support victims/survivors, as well as a range of information.
Men’s Advice Line: Advice and support for men in abusive situations please call 0808 801 0327.
Respect: Offers a helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse, and will also take calls from (ex)partners, friends and relatives who are concerned about perpetrators. Telephone: 0845 122 8606.
Protecting yourself in the home:
If your abuser becomes violent, try to avoid the kitchen, garage or anywhere that might have potential weapons, or where your abuser could lock you in.
Identify a safe room. Does the door lock and is there a phone signal or outside window/exit so that you can call for help or get out?
Keep your mobile charged and on you at all times.
Agree on a code word NOW with trusted friends or family so that they can call the police if you text or call them. For instance, you could agree that a certain word or a blank text means you need the police urgently.
If your neighbours are aware of the situation, let them know that they should call the police if they hear a disturbance. Or agree to place an object in plain sight (in window etc.) to signal help is needed.
If you have children, talk to them about where they can go to keep safe if the perpetrator becomes abusive. Emphasise that in this situation their priority is to get to safety first and then call for help. Tell them not to intervene as this could put them in further danger.
Preparing to leave:
If possible, keep your bank cards, a little cash and car keys (if you have them) in a safe and accessible place. If you are able, leave an overnight bag with friends or family. Include your id, driving license and passport in the bag, or copies if you have them.
Agree on a code word with your children as a way to instruct them safely to leave the home. Plan possible escape routes from each room that you can use both day and night. If you are unable to leave, lock yourself in a room and dial 999. Use the Silent Solutions process if you need to: dial 999 -listen to the operator -respond if you can by coughing or tapping on the phone -press 55 when prompted.
What is domestic abuse?
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate, or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
What is controlling behaviour?
This includes a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
What is coercive behaviour?
This is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.