How to help your neighbour if you overhear violent domestic abuse
During the COVID-19 Pandemic we are all observing the Government guidelines on staying home and staying safe. Unfortunately for some people, this may not necessarily be the case, especially when it comes to domestic abuse. If you are worried about this happening to you or you have overheard domestic violence taking place in your neighbourhood, there is help in place to you as a victim and to you as a concerned neighbour.
Cabinet member for health and social care at Sheffield City Council George Lindars-Hammond, said:
“During this time when we are all abiding by the government guidelines on staying at home to keep ourselves and others safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic, for some it may also be a time when things may not be going well at home.
“It is an awful and worrying thing to overhear someone being harmed in a domestic setting. This is why it is so important to share the message to people out there who are unsure of what to do if this happens.
“If you overhear a neighbour being harmed, be a good neighbour and take these steps. You really could make all the difference to a potential victim’s life.”
Be a good neighbour
If you are worried that a neighbour may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse think about reporting this to the police. Your neighbour may need your help to prevent their serious injury or death so it’s important to know what to do.
In Sheffield around one in sixteen adults will be a victim of domestic abuse every year and most of the abuse happens in the home. This means we are all likely to live on a street with neighbours who are victims of domestic abuse, but we may not know this is happening.
A few years ago, in Sheffield, a neighbour overheard something unusual happening in the home next door. There were screams and lots of other unusual noise. The neighbour did not phone the police until the next day. When the police arrived, they found a woman had died as a result of an attack by her partner. What would you have done?
You may feel that you don’t want to interfere, or you may worry what may happen to you if your neighbour finds out you have told someone. However, the best way to help your neighbour is to phone the police or contact Crimestoppers anonymously. The police can stop the harm from happening and can help victims to keep safe. They can also use the law to stop someone causing further harm.
How do I get help for my neighbour?
You can report anonymously. Contact Crimestoppers online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ or phone 0800 555111. Your neighbour will not know who has reported.
If you think it is an emergency, phone 999.
If it is not an emergency you can report direct to the police at https://www.reportingcrime.uk/ or by phoning 101.
Remember, be a good neighbour, report the crime and you may prevent a death.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is when a family member (e.g. your partner, ex, spouse, ex-spouse, adult daughter / son) is causing you harm. The abuse could be of different types – including physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological. Acts of domestic abuse including violence against a person, rape and sexual assault, coercive control, harassment, stalking and forced marriage are all illegal. Domestic abuse can affect anyone, of any age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and living in any neighbourhood.
You may feel frightened and ashamed. You may feel isolated from family and friends. Domestic abuse is not right, and you are not at fault if it is happening to you.
To find out more about domestic abuse go to https://sheffielddact.org.uk/domestic-abuse/domestic-abuse/
How do I know if my relationship is healthy?
Use this Women’s Aid online tool to find out how healthy your relationship is https://www.womensaid.org.uk/the-survivors-handbook/am-i-in-an-abusive-relationship/
How do I get help in an emergency?
Victims who need immediate help should telephone 999 and ask for the police. If you don’t feel you can talk to the police because the abuser is still in the home then you can use the ‘silent solution’. Press 55 when prompted by the operator and you will be put through to the police. Cough or make a noise (hit keys against the hand set) to answer questions when asked. This will help the police to understand the help you need.
What domestic abuse support services are there for people in Sheffield?
Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) is a specialist domestic abuse support service. Contact them by…
- Telephoning the Sheffield helpline on 0808 808 2241 (Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturdays 9am to 5pm)
- Talk to them by webchat idas.org.uk between 3pm-6pm each day.
IDAS advisors can answer questions from victims or their family or friends, provide safety advice, risk assess and offer longer term support. To find out more go to www.idas.org.uk
A full list of support services available in Sheffield, including how to access refuge, can be found at https://sheffielddact.org.uk/domestic-abuse/get-help/
What support is there for people causing harm?
Inspire to Change is a programme in Sheffield that works with those causing harm. The programme helps people learn about healthy relationships, how their behaviour affects others and how to make changes in their behaviour.
To find out more go to www.inspiretochange.co.uk or phone 0114 256 7270