For most of us, the home is a safe space. But this safety does not extend to everyone, as statistics from the National Domestic Abuse helpline sadly bear out - seeing a 25% increase in calls since lockdown measures began. 

The government has announced a campaign to raise awareness of the helpline 0808 2000 247 run by Refuge, and said it will provide £2M for domestic abuse support.

We can all do our part by spotting signs of abuse early and providing support to help stop further attacks. If you know or fear someone may be experiencing domestic abuse:

  1. Spot: If you think someone’s behaviour is unusual, it is better to ask than to assume. Consider the use of closed questions (questions to which they can answer “yes” or “no”) in case someone else may be listening.
  2. Remember: domestic abuse isn’t always physical. It’s a pattern of controlling and intimidating behaviour that can be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. It can happen in same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
  3. Support: The most important thing you can do is listen and believe. Keep in touch. This could be through regular video or phone calls, or if it is safer via emails or text messages. Be careful and sensitive. Keep checking in with them, even if they don’t want to seek help yet.
  4. Stop abuse: Encourage them to call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. The helpline will put them in touch with local services who can help them make a plan to get safe. People experiencing domestic abuse are allowed to leave their home to seek help during lockdown. If serious domestic abuse is disclosed, you should encourage them to call 101, or 999 if the situation is critical.

Apr 14, 2020