For anyone experiencing domestic abuse, the rules put in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus is having a massive impact on their safety.
With many households across the country being stuck indoors, it makes it easier for perpetrators to control more and more aspects of their victims lives, including what they do and when, what they can eat, who they can speak to, how money is spent and if they can get medical help or not.
We spoke to Donna, one of Glow’s refuge managers, about some practical advice and tips on how people could keep themselves and their family safe:
If you can, create some space for yourself
- Wherever possible make use of the government’s recommended daily exercise, exercise is known to be beneficial to mental health and it will also provide some opportunity for some personal space.
- Use your car if available for some separate time when necessary.
Have a safety plan
- Think about how you leave the house in an emergency, know the quickest and safest route out or the safest rooms in the property.
- Pack an emergency bag, where possible, including all essential belongings such as identification, money, bank cards, medication and essential clothing.
- If you can make sure your children are aware of this plan and know what to do in an emergency.
In an emergency
- Make sure your mobile phone is charged, always topped up and on hand. If children have mobile phones encourage them to do the same.
- If you call 999, there is a police system in place called The Silent Solution- if you can’t speak or are making the call in secret, wait around 20 seconds for the automated message to finish and then press ‘55’. Your call will be forward to the local police force as an emergency.
- If physical incidents occur, try wherever possible to stay out of high-risk areas such as the kitchen and bathroom or where weapons may be kept in the house.
Have a support network
- If you can, share safe words with your neighbours that can be communicated when you feel you are in danger. Safe words or single emoji that can be text to friends or family are also a good way to raise any alarms.
- Wherever possible stay in regular contact with friends and family to maintain your support networks.
Get help and support
- Although many face to face services are closed online services such as Supportline are still available to offer emotional and practical support via email or telephone.
- Women’s Aid is also offering a live chat between 10am-12pm and online Survivors Forum.
- Try to access online resources to help you cope, Mind, Healthy Minds and the Samaritans websites all have resources for coping with mental health.
We’re available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm where our staff are able to provide our usual support and guidance by phone and email. Whenever you feel ready to reach out and talk, get in touch and we’ll find the right help for you.
Contact Glow on 0330 0945 559 or email support@localhost