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Domestic abuse during coronavirus outbreak

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Isolation and domestic abuse

As a result of coronavirus outbreak, many victims of domestic abuse will face additional challenges and barriers to accessing support. While self-isolating, families are likely to spend extended periods of time with abusers, which potentially could escalate the threat of violent and abusive behaviour.

Victims will be more isolated from the people and the resources that could help them. 

Help and support 

We would like to reassure those who are experiencing abuse that they are not alone, and support services are still available to offer help and support.

If you need help contact:

  • Metropolitan Police - If in an immediate danger, always call 999. For non-emergencies, dial 101.
  • Hestia provides Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy (IDVA) support and refuge accommodation for victims and their children suffering from domestic abuse. Contact IDVA service on 0203 879 3544 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). If you are looking for a refuge accommodation, contact referral line on 0808 169 9975 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline 24/7
    • Telephone: 0808 2000 247
  • Richmond Foodbanks
    • Telephone: 020 89400274 
  • Women’s Aid Live Chat online service - Monday to Friday from 10am to 12pm 
  • Rape Crisis Live Chat Helpline – available for women and girls aged 16+. Opening hours:
    • Monday: 2 to 4.30pm and from 6 to 9pm
    • Tuesday: 2 to 4.30pm and from 6 to 9pm
    • Wednesday: 12pm to 2.30pm, and from 6 to 9pm
    • Thursday: 12pm to 2.30pm, and from 6 to 8.30pm
    • Friday: 9 to 11.30am.
  • Age UK Advice Line is open from 8am to 7pm, 365 days a year -  0800 678 1602 
  • Galop - The LGBT+ anti-violence charity - 020 7704 2040. Opening hours:
    • Monday to Friday between 10am and 12:30pm, and between 1:30 to 4pm
  • Hourglass: Support for older people who have experienced, or are at risk of, any kind of harm, abuse or exploitation. Helpline 0808 808 8141 open from 9am to 5pm every Monday to Friday. 
  • Men’s Advice Line open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm - 0808 801 0327 
  • Mankind - confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence. Phone them on 01823 334244 from 10am to 4pm
  • Housing options – if you are at risk of homelessness, please contact Housing Information and Advice Team on 020 8891 7409
  • National Stalking Helpline  provides advice and advocacy support to victims of stalking -  0808 802 0300
  • Surviving Economic Abuse have produced guidance that looks at keeping yourself safe while self-isolating, as well as practical issues including benefits and sick pay.
  • Revive Housing Scheme is Homefinder’s latest division, specialising in relocating domestic abuse survivors to permanent social housing in a new and safe environment in a different part of the country. The service will provide an alternative way to find social housing for survivors without the need to compete against other high priority groups. This is a service for existing Housing Association and Council tenants.
  • Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app, providing support and information to those concerned that someone they know is experiencing domestic abuse.
    • Available in five languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Polish and Welsh
    • A unique UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services with contact details
    • Questionnaires to assess the safety of a relationship, plus a section on dispelling myths around domestic and sexual abuse
    • Links to further resources and information on topics around domestic abuse
  • Safe Spaces - walk into a TSB bank branch, any Boots UK store, Superdrug Pharmacy, Morrisons Pharmacy, or one of the independent pharmacies and ask to use their Safe Space. Victims can use a private room to make telephone calls, speak to a trained member of staff and access information about available support services.
  • Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) codeword scheme – the scheme has been developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy. Participating pharmacies (including all Boots stores)  display posters in their window and around the pharmacy to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help. Walk into your local Boots pharmacy using the codeword or ask for help. A member of staff will offer to accompany you to the consultation room where you will be helped to contact a local support service, national domestic abuse helpline or Police, without abusers or other members of the public knowing.

Updated: 01 November 2021