COVID-19 wellbeing hub. Dealing with domestic abuse

Whether you are a victim of domestic abuse, or worried about someone else, Hospitality Action can help. On this page, you will find information on receiving support.

Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour. It can take many forms: physical, verbal, emotional, economic, psychological, and sexual.

Similar, perhaps more subtle, but just as damaging is a form of psychological manipulation known as ‘gaslighting’. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where the victim is gradually led to doubt their own memory and judgement, allowing the perpetrator to gain a greater and greater degree of control over them without them realising.

Abuse is a choice a perpetrator makes and sadly isolation is already being used by many perpetrators as a tool of control.

Domestic abuse in isolation.

For many people, the coronavirus lockdown regulations may mean they are forced to stay within a violent household. Calls to one of the largest national helplines for domestic abuse have increased by 120% since the lockdown started in March.

Domestic abuse victims face several challenges in lockdown. The government has made it clear that victims can flee a home where they face abuse. The lockdown may nonetheless make it hard and victims may be unsure of their options. But it is important to know that help and support is available:

In Case of Emergency.

Call 999

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls, even in lockdown.

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.

You can read more about this system here, it may be wise to familiarise yourself with the information before a case of emergency: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/research-learning/Silent_solution_guide.pdf

If you call 999 from a landline

When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response. Remember to try to make some noise for the operator; cough, tap your phone, sneeze etc.

Image: Unsplash/Muhammad Ufifi

Domestic Abuse Helplines.

Below are some organisations who run helplines to support those affected by domestic abuse, many of these organisations also support perpetrators to change. We have provided links for live chats where possible in case it is not possible for you to make a phone call:

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline

24-hour helpline (run by Refuge UK): 0808 2000 247

  • Women’s Aid

Domestic abuse live chat for women:

https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/

  • Respect

Domestic abuse helpline for men: 0808 8010327

Live Chat: https://mensadviceline.org.uk/contact-us/

  • NSPCC (if you are worried about a child)

Email: help@nspcc.org.uk

0808 800 5000 (Mon-Fri, 8am to 10pm and Sat-Sun, 9am-6pm)

  • The Mix

Support provided for under 25s on a range of issues and can support domestic abuse cases:

https://www.themix.org.uk/get-support

  • Brightsky

Information and support mobile app:

https://www.hestia.org/brightsky

Image: Unsplash/Youssef Naddam