Domestic abuse & Sexual violence advice during Covid-19
Being in lockdown with someone who is abusive is a scary reality for people across Gloucestershire. If you’re dealing with domestic abuse or sexual violence in Gloucestershire, please read on for advice and contacts for local and national agencies which can help.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is working hard to ensure its officers can respond to emergency calls during the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, in the same way they would usually. If you need help or want to tell the police something visit gloucestershire.police.uk, call 101, or in an emergency always call 999.
Remember, help is still available in Gloucestershire – even during lockdown.
You can still leave your home to flee abuse during lockdown.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel has said that if domestic abuse victims have the opportunity to leave their homes to seek help at refuges, they are able to without fear of breaking Coronavirus lockdown laws.
Partner agencies are able to help anyone that is wanting to flee domestic abuse.
Nationally refuges are still offering places, GDASS have places of safety and the district councils are prioritising victims of DA in alternative housing provision in the circumstance of fleeing abuse. None of this has changed in light of Covid-19 the only change is the remote way some of the organisations are having to work – which is why we are recommending the initial contact for support goes through GDASS or the police.
If a victim is wanting to flee their home:
We would advise making contact with GDASS or police who can support the victim in finding suitable accommodation. Call 999 if someone or a child is in immediate danger
Victims should find a safe place alone where they are able to make a phone call or online referral to GDASS or the police and they will be able to assist. Whether that is taking yourself to a park, open space or using the excuse of needing to go to the GP or pharmacy, shop.
Online referrals will allow GDASS to prioritise quicker and will save a victim being stuck in a queue for the helpline.
If someone is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 then they should avoid places that will put others at risk of infection and they should state to the organisation they are contacting that they are suffering symptoms, but this will not stop us from being able to support.
Link to GDASS referral form:
Staying Safe at home
This advice comes from our partners at GDASS – There’s more information and support available here.
- Plan escape routes out of your property, if the perpetrator comes in the front door, how do you get out? If they’re in the house with you try to migrate towards rooms which have exits, in case things escalate.
- Set up a code word with your friends and family. If they call they know when you are in trouble.
- Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers: eg Police DV unit, 24-hour domestic abuse helplines, emergency contacts. Perhaps even bookmark a link to this page in your phone.
- Are there neighbours you can trust? If so ask them to contact the police if they hear anything.
- Pack an emergency bag for yourself and the children. Hide it somewhere safe away from the house, maybe with a friend you can trust.
- Keep a small amount of money on you at all times – including change for the bus or phone.
- Keep your mobile phone on you and charged, with credit, at all times. If this is not possible, can you hide one somewhere?
- If you suspect he or she is about to become violent, try to avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be items such as knives or heavy tools which can be used as weapons.
- Avoid locking yourself in small rooms, especially bathrooms. Always try and get out of the property.
- Give your friends or family a spare key to your house, if you are locked in they can help you escape.Go to our support services page or Get Help now tab for all contact details.
- Whilst the way our partners can offer support may be changed they are still working and can support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence during this uncertain times.
Tel: 01452 726 570
We are continuing to offer telephone support.
We have had to temporarily stop all face to face contact with clients, however we are taking referrals via our website and will call existing clients, and new referrals via telephone.
We also continue to support you as professionals with any DA related queries, please get in touch via the website.
Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
Tel: 0300 421 8400
Hope House SARC will not be routinely staffed during the day. During office hours (Monday to Friday 08.30-17.00), the phone will be answered remotely. This will not affect the out of hours service and SARC will continue to offer 24 hour advice, support and a call out service for forensic cases.
Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (GRASAC)
Tel: 01452 526770 – The helpline is currently available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 12.00 – 2.00 and Wednesday evenings 6.30 – 8.30 pm.
The office in Gloucester is now closed and all staff are working remotely and offering telephone/video/text support as required by their clients and new referrals continue to be taken.
We continue to offer anonymous help at GRASAC’s firstname.lastname@example.org and updates to services are posted on the website.