Lockdown is difficult for everyone. However, for those living with an abusive partner or family member, it is dangerous, traumatic and relentless. Opportunities to reach out and access support are reduced as making phone calls or visiting services is much harder. Over the last few weeks, there has been a huge community effort to reach people who may be vulnerable, ensuring they have the food and essentials they need. We want to help those volunteers and the wider community to be alert to the signs of abuse, to watch out for signs and to recognise what they can do to help.
SafeLives Pioneers, a group of survivors of domestic abuse who use their experiences to drive change, have spoken out about times when someone ‘reached in’ to help them, and the difference it made. Here we'll be sharing their stories, as well as practical help and guidance on what to do if you’re worried about someone you know.
Reach In stories
In the video below, SafeLives Pioneer Celia Peachey shares her experience of someone reaching in to offer help, and talks about the powerful effect reaching in can have.
How to help someone you know
In an emergency
If you believe someone is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted. If you can’t use a voice phone, you can register with the police text service - text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger. Find out more.
If you are concerned
It can feel hard to know what to do if you're worried that someone may be experiencing abuse. We hope the information and guidance here will help you to approach the person and offer to help. Please only act if it feels safe for you and the other person.
We have produced guidance for friends and family, alongside Dr Alison Gregory, a researcher at Bristol University who specialises in domestic abuse and informal support networks.
Equation have released helpful guidance on what to say if you think a friend is experiencing domestic abuse.
In the podcast below, Dr Gregory speaks to Rachel Ozanne from SafeLives, as well as survivor and SafeLives Pioneer Ursula about these issues in more detail.
Resources for young people
The Mix offers free support for young people on anything from healthy relationships to finances. They've got some specific tools to help young people navigate relationships which might be helpful in opening a conversation with a young person you're worried about: