Social distancing and social isolation are going to be hard for everybody. For people living in a situation where they are experiencing domestic abuse and violence from someone at home the current situation is likely to make things worse. However, people need to know that they are not alone. The police and specialist services are still here to help them. South Yorkshire Police officers are fully equipped with PPE and so will be able to attend properties even where someone is actually showing symptoms.
Who can I call? In an emergency continue to call 999. Police support is operating as before the Covid-19 crisis.
The Sheffield local Domestic Abuse Helpline can be accessed by calling 0808 808 2241 (freephone) Mondays to Fridays 8am – 7pm and Saturdays 9am – 5pm
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247
When you can’t call someone – There is an online chat function on the dedicated website from 4-6pm www.idas.org.uk and National Women’s Aid website www.womensaid.org.uk also has a chatline from 10am – 12pm.
For further information and support check the Sheffield DACT website https://sheffielddact.org.uk/domestic-abuse/uncategorized/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19/
If you need to leave your home – Sheffield also has women’s refuges and staff at these locations are working closely with Sheffield City Council to ensure that they are operating safely and in line with the government guidance for refuges during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Access to the refuges is via the usual route on the housing advice and options line: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/housing/housing-advice-options-line
Safety planning advice is also available on the DACT website
If you are living with abuse now – If you are, you may be thinking one of 2 things: I will try and ride this out or I need to leave as this new situation is the final straw.
If you need to leave because the situation is even more dangerous or intolerable then phone 999 or the Domestic Abuse Helpline or think about who you could ask to help. Think about who your trusted people are. Think about how you could get information to them that you need help.
Do you know someone who may need help? Consider your own safety first. If you can, discreetly ask them if they are okay, if everything is alright at home, if they are managing.
You could try and discreetly let them have information such as a helpline number saved under a different name. And if you hear a fight or shouting next door then consider calling the police or contacting CrimeStoppers 0800 555 111 which is always anonymous, if you need it to be.
Some may choose to try and ride this out. Survivors of domestic abuse are often tough people who have been managing risk to themselves and their children for a while. This will of course come at a cost to the victim but it’s important that we don’t make people feel bad or undermine them or force them into decisions they aren’t ready to take.
However, children are often caught up in domestic abuse situations too and if you are worried about a child’s safety then please contact the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub on 0114 273 48655.