Domestic abuse and COVID-19

Domestic abuse may affect anyone at any time, but the isolation resulting from COVID-19 is particularly affecting victims/survivors of domestic abuse. The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown, according to the charity Refuge. Victims/survivors of domestic abuse may be self-isolating with someone who is harming them, and they may feel they have no way out. Previous places of safety or respite, such as friends, family or local churches, may no longer appear accessible.

It is vital that victims/survivors of domestic abuse know that they are not alone and there is still help available in these challenging times. This is highlighted in a Government awareness campaign launched on April 11.

Where can I go for help?

If you would like help, please reach out for support in any safe way that you can.  If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.  If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.  There is also help available from the National Domestic Violence Helpline as well as online, please see below for details.

I’m worried about someone else, what can I do?

Domestic abuse in all its forms is contrary to the will of God and an affront to human dignity. All need to play their part in preventing or halting it.  If you are worried about a friend, family member or neighbour, please contact your Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor.   If someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999. More information is also available in the national safeguarding policy Responding Well to Domestic Abuse.  Do not approach the perpetrator yourself, as this could put you or the victim/survivor at risk.

Sources of help

Telephone and email

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.  If you are not in immediate danger, the following numbers may be helpful:

  • Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 [email protected]
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 [email protected]
  • Karma Nirvana, UK Helpline for ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247
  • Victim Support National 24-hour Support line: 0808 1689 111

Websites and useful guides

Accessing information online may feel like the best option at this time. If you do access any information online and you are worried about others in your household seeing it, you may need to delete your browser history or use ‘private browsing’ as a way to hide your searches. There are some helpful guides available:

Domestic Abuse and COVID-19 useful guides

Support if you are worried about hurting someone

If you are worried about hurting the ones you love while staying at home, call the Respect Phoneline for support and help to manage your behaviour, 0808 8024 040.