COVID-19: Domestic Abuse Concerns
The lockdown to slow the spread of Coronavirus is leaving those at risk of domestic violence trapped inside their homes with their abusers.
However, domestic abuse support is still available during this pandemic:
Nottinghamshire Women's Aid: 01909 533610 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
Nottinghamshire Juno Helpline: 0808 800 0340 (24 hours)
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)
Equation's service for men: 0115 960 5556
Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
Childline: 0800 1111
Please see below for more information.
Services available during the pandemic
Safe spaces at Boots UK pharmacies
Victims of domestic abuse are able to access safe spaces at Boots UK pharmacy consultation rooms across the country where they can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice. While in the consultation room, people will have access to:
- 24-hour National domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Men’s advice line: 0808 801 032
- Signposting to download free mobile app Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
Nottinghamshire Women's Aid (NWAL)
Nottinghamshire Women's Aid wants to assure everyone that they are still working throughout this ever changing time.
NWAL has adapted its practice in accordance with COVID-19 government guidelines and with the support of Public Health, Nottinghamshire County Council and Office of Police and Crime Commissioner Leads to ensure that support can continue safely.
Plans have been put in place which safeguards the NWAL community, including professionals and survivors. The counselling service has closed temporarily as it is face to face support (this is separate to the specialist domestic abuse support work).
NWAL are currently not running group programmes or face to face work, instead increasing phone contact. They will also still be accepting referrals for community based services.
If you have any questions in regards to NWAL services, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Farr Centre on 01909 533610 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Newark Women's Aid
Newark Women's Aid provides the following specialist Domestic Violence Services to support women and children whose lives have been affected by domestic violence
- Refuge Accommodation
- Move-on and resettlement support
- Women’s Outreach
Telephone: 01636 679687
Please be aware that the Juno free 24 hour helpline is still operational: 0808 800 0340.
Change Grow Live
The Bassetlaw and Newark services are still up and running in light of the impact of Covid-19.
Bassetlaw - Services at Ground Floor, Crown House are still running with a minimum staffing level, avoiding all but essential face to face contact. Please contact them by phone on 0115 896 0798 option two to discuss if support is available without having to come into the building.
Newark – If you are in need of support please contact them by phone on 0115 896 0798 option two or if you are a current service user please contact your worker.
Services from Equation are running as normal with the exception of face-to-face work.
Call Equation’s service for men on 0115 960 5556.
National Support Service Information
If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse: 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
If you are a child or young person experiencing domestic abuse: Childline 0800 1111
If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse: Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA)
If you are suffering from Economic or Financial Abuse, please contact Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).
More information and resources can be found on its website: https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/
Lloyds Banking Group has a specialist domestic abuse team and referrals can be made via SEA.
Domestic and sexual abuse
Domestic violence and abuse is about someone trying to have power and control over you and everything you do. Abusers will do anything to keep that control. Domestic violence is rarely a one-off event and physical violence often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
Domestic violence is usually perpetrated against women by men they know. However, men are sometimes abused by their female partners, and parents are sometimes abused by their children. Domestic violence affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds and communities.
Different types of abuse
Physical abuse happens when a person uses physical force against another person.
A person can experience many different types of physical abuse including:
- Sleep and food deprivation
Domestic violence is rarely a one-off event and physical violence often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
verbal abuse is a key feature of emotionally abusive relationships. The perpetrator consistently makes statements that negatively label a person. This has a serious impact on the self-esteem and confidence of the person experiencing the verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse includes angry yelling but it also includes cold statements designed to humiliate a person.
Verbal abuse includes:
- continuous criticism, swearing and humiliation in public or in private
- attacks on someone’s intelligence, body or parenting
Mental and emotional abuse
Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars but it can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
The signs of emotional abuse can be hard to identify, especially because it is non-physical. Emotional abuse includes:
- Controlling who the victim can and can't see
- Blaming them for all problems in the relationship
- Controlling what they wear
- Intentionally embarrassing them in public
Someone experiencing emotional abuse can start to believe that what the perpetrator says about them is true. They may also blame themselves for the abuse.
The constant criticism lowers their self-esteem and confidence, making it very difficult to leave the abusive relationship.
Sexual abuse is any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity, perpetrator of sexual abuse may use physical force, make threats or take advantage of a person unable to give consent.
It has impacts on a person’s physical and emotional health. It can lead to long-term mental health issues, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Deliberately causing pain during sex
- Forced sex without protection against pregnancy or STIs
- Forcing the victim to perform sexual acts
- Unwanted touching
- Using sex as a punishment
Sexual abuse mainly happens between people who know each other, but not always
Consent is key to healthy sexual experiences. Always have sex with consent. Do not pressure your partner into having sex or performing sexual acts they do not agree to.
You always have the right to say no, even if you’re married or live together. Silence does NOT mean consent.
Perpetrators of social abuse prevent a person from spending time with family and friends, and participating in social activities.
Social abuse can include:
- Monitoring a victims phone calls and emails
- Controlling who they can and can’t see
- Continuously criticising their friends or family
- Moving far away so they can’t reach their loved ones
- Verbally or physically abusing them in public
By isolating them from their support networks, the perpetrator is attempting to assert power and control.
Without a network of friends and family for support, a person can find it very difficult to leave an abusive relationship
Stalking happens when a person intentionally and persistently pursues someone against their will. The stalker does this to control, intimidate and create fear in the person they are stalking. The person being stalked may feel like they are in danger.
Stalking limits a person’s freedom and makes them feel they have lost control over their lives. Some people who have been stalked are forced to change their lives, including by moving house and changing jobs.
Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Perpetrators include current or former partners, relatives and strangers.
Stalking involves a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents. To control, intimidate and create fear in a person, a stalker may:
- make repeated phone calls
- send numerous text messages
- loiter outside or near a person’s home or work
- leave messages on social networking sites, such as Facebook
- leave notes on a person’s car
- leave flowers at a person’s home
- follow or continually stare at the person they are stalking
Financial abuse can be subtle, with a perpetrator gradually taking control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Financial abuse can also be obvious, violent and threatening. For example, someone may forbid their partner from working or spending their wages.
Financial abuse includes:
- someone taking complete control of finances and money
- restricting access to bank accounts
- providing an inadequate allowance and monitoring what their partner spends money on
- forbidding a partner to work
- taking a partner’s pay and not allowing them to access it
- preventing them from getting to work by taking their keys or car
- identity theft to secure credit
- using their credit card without their permission
Image-based abuse is when someone shares, or threatens to share, intimate photos without the consent of the person in the photo.
Image-based abuse includes photos or videos of:
- A nude person
- A person engaged in a sex act
- A person showering or bathing
- A person’s face digitally added to a sexualised image
It includes images that were taken with and without a person’s consent.
Cyber crime and domestic violence
Cyber crime is a crime that takes place online.
Nottinghamshire Police takes cyber crime very seriously. Victims of cyber crime can be a single person, a group of people, or an organisation. Some examples of how cyber crime can affect you include
- Having your social media or other online accounts hacked
- Being bullied online (often referred to as cyber bullying)
- Someone gaining access to your online banking account and online accounts
- A partner invading your privacy
Nottinghamshire Police publish useful information on how to protect yourself from cybercrime.
Bright Sky App
Bright Sky is a new app to help victims of domestic violence record evidence of their abusive relationships and seek professional help. Bright Sky helps people experiencing domestic abuse to log private journal entries in the form of text, photos and videos, which are then sent to a designated email address. This information can be sent to the authorities at a later date.
The app also uses GPS to find help points nearby and offers advice for people in an abusive relationship, or for people who are concerned about someone else.
Android and iOS platforms