Domestic abuse help during lockdown

Lockdown and social distancing is difficult for most of us. If you are in an abusive relationship, the isolation could make things worse.

The government's rules say you can leave your home to escape your partner, or to get help if you are in an abusive situation.

Are you in danger right now?

If you or your family are in immediate danger, it is very important that you get help right now.

Contact the police. Leave the house if you are able to. If you cannot leave the house, get to the safest place you can. Stay away from anywhere with dangerous objects such as knives.

Are you worried about what might happen?

If you are worried the abuse could escalate while you are isolated, try to plan how you will stay safe if your situation gets worse.

  • Make sure you have a safe place to go if you need to, this could be the home of relatives or friends, or it could be a domestic abuse refuge.
  • If you think you might need to get to a refuge, contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline when it is safe to do so.
  • If you have a friend, neighbour or family member you can trust, tell them you are worried. Arrange for them to call or message and check in on you, if it is safe to do so.
  • It is an idea to have a secret code with someone you trust. For example messaging a 'safe word' or phrase if things get worse and you need them to help you. Other ideas for a secret code are ringing and hanging up, or sending a blank text.
  • Try to keep your phone charged and with you at all times.

Call the National Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline at any time on 0808 2000 247 for information or advice. Make sure it is safe for you to call.
All calls to the helpline are confidential. Translation facilities and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing are also available.

Get more safety tips from Women's Aid.

Are you worried about someone else?

If you are worried about someone else being isolated with their partner, check in on them regularly if you can.

  • Before sending any messages by text or social media, beware that an abuser may have access to their partner's phone or other devices. You may need to be discreet or find another way to contact.
  • If you think someone is in immediate physical danger, call the police straight away on 999.
  • It is an idea to arrange a code that someone can use if they need your help. E.g a safe word or phrase, a missed call or a blank text.
  • If you think someone may need help and you are not sure what to do, call the free National Domestic Abuse 24-hour Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Get more general tips on how to help someone in an abusive relationship, from Women's Aid.

Not sure if you're being abused?

Not all abuse is physical. Abuse can also be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. Many abusers use isolation as a tool of control.

Legal options that can keep you safe

The FLOWS team can help you with legal options that can keep you safe from your abuser, including protective court orders.

We can also help you find local services for whatever help you need right now.