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Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Help - 10/04/2020

Government’s advice on self or household-isolation will have a direct impact on victims of domestic abuse. Home is not likely to be a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse and their children. Social distancing and self-isolation could be used as a tool of coercive and controlling behaviour by perpetrators, and will shut down routes to safety and support

Information for individuals

There are a number of things you can do to hide your internet use – read Women’s Aid’s advice on how to cover your tracks online

There are several steps that people in abusive situations can take to keep safe:

• Phone the police on 999 if it is an emergency, and if unable to speak at that time, press 55 after the automated message. The call will then be transferred to your local police and callers will be given further instructions

The freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is also available on 0808 2000 247 or online at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

There is also a form you can complete online and they will call you back at a safe time https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/Contact-us

Women's Aid online chat is still open https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/

And Men's Advice line, for male victims, is still open too https://mensadviceline.org.uk/

Locally, Outreach Services are still available too:

Cambridge City/East Cambs/South Cambs 01223 361214

Fenland/Hunts/Peterborough 07787 255821

For support around sexual violence, local Rape Crisis Helplines are closed but National Rape Crisis is still available and they also have online chat https://rapecrisis.org.uk/

And The Elms Sexual Assault Referral Centre is still open https://www.theelmssarc.org/

Local help from charities and domestic abuse services taken from Cambridge City Council's website at www.cambridge.gov.uk/advice-for-people-affected-by-domestic-abuse

The following websites also provide information, advice and support to people affected by domestic violence. Most have a telephone helpline.

Legal advice is available from several sources, including:

Information for groups, staff and volunteers

It is important that staff, volunteers, friends or family are aware of the signs of domestic abuse and know what to do if they are concerned.

As the government is advising people to stay at home where possible this may be creating additional challenges to those at risk of domestic abuse who may feel unable to escape from those carrying out the abuse.

More information on the support available can be found in the latest DASV newsletter or on the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership Website

Staff or volunteers

Report this to your supervisor or safeguarding lead. Do not try and take any action yourself. Do not confront anyone. If it is an emergency get yourself to safety and call the Police. If you have no one to report it to contact the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership Website

Family, Friends and Neighbours

Code words with family and friends are really important during these times. It may not be easy or safe for the client to call the police but if a pre-arranged safe word or phrase is in place such as “Did I leave my scarf at yours?” it will let that person know the client needs help.

 If they regularly stay in contact with family, ensure they check in by calling or texting daily. If they are aware of what is happening, alert them and let them know if you don’t respond within a certain time frame to call the police

Speak to neighbours if safe to do so and inform them of their situation - suggest that if they put something in the window then they require the Police to be called. (flowers in a vase, lamp, a book or curtains closed or open at a certain time) it’s a visual thing for people to see in the window.

Ask them to call or check in on a daily basis. I.e. talking through the garden or exchanging greetings through the window