Domestic Abuse Gloucestershire advice lockdown 2

Being in lockdown with someone who is mentally or physically abusive is a scary reality for people across Gloucestershire. If you’re dealing with domestic abuse or sexual violence in Gloucestershire, please read on for advice and contacts for local and national agencies which can help.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is working hard to ensure its officers can respond to emergency calls during the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, in the same way they would usually. If you need help or want to tell the police something visit gloucestershire.police.uk, call 101, or in an emergency always call 999.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is working with partner agencies to collate practical tips and access to local support to those dealing with domestic abuse or sexual violence.

Remember, help is still available in Gloucestershire – even during lockdown.


You can still leave home during lockdown

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel has said that if domestic abuse victims have the opportunity to leave their homes to seek help at refuges, they are able to without fear of breaking Coronavirus lockdown laws.


What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse Gloucestershire advice lockdown 1

Women’s Aid provides a helpful page which can help identify if you are in an abusive relationship. Click here to view – remember you may wish to open in a private browsing window.

Some of the factors to consider are:

  • If your partner tries to stop you talking to friends or family?
  • If your partner tried to belittle or humiliate you, or regularly criticises or insults you?
  • If your partner ever hurts or threatens you or your children?
  • If your partner blames their use of alcohol or drugs, mental health condition or family history for their behaviour?
  •  If your partner ever keeps you short of money so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children, or has made you take out loans?

Spotting the signs of domestic abuse

All relationships are different. There isn’t such a thing as a ‘normal’ relationship, but there are healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. If you feel unsafe or recognise any of the negative signs below, take action.

The above information comes from our partners at Victim Support. Their full page of advice is available here. Remember you may wish to open in a private browsing window.


Silent Solutions

Domestic Abuse Gloucestershire advice lockdown 3

This advice comes from the national charity Women’s Aid. More information is available here.

Silent Solutions is a system for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger and escalation of harm if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency.

When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to audibly signal to the operator, the call will be forwarded to an operating system.

If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. Click here to find out more.


Hollie Guard App

Hollie App

The Hollie Guard app is a free and simple personal protection app with features including pinpoint location tracking, alarms, video and audio recording and family alerts. 

According to the app’s website: “With a simple shake or tap it activates Hollie Guard, immediately notifying your chosen contacts, pinpointing your location and sending audio and video evidence directly to their mobile phones.”

The app also has a stealth mode where it sends an alert to family, but only displays a home screen so it’s not obvious to an attacker that an alert has been raised.

Find our more here.

You can download Hollie Guard in the App Store or Google Play Store.


Staying safe online

This advice comes from our partners at GDASS – There’s more information and support available here.

Most modern web browsers have a private browsing mode. Browsing the web with this enabled stops history, cookies and login details from being stored for that session.

GDASS recommends that you enable private browsing mode in your browser when you are visiting websites that you do not want the perpetrator to find. Its website also offers tips on how to ensure your social media is private, how to block people on social media, and how to turn off location settings on your phone.

If you’d like to read this article on a private browser, you can copy this link and paste it into a private browser window.


Staying safe at home

 

Domestic Abuse Gloucestershire advice lockdown 2

This advice comes from our partners at GDASS – There’s more information and support available here.

  • Plan escape routes out of your property, if the perpetrator comes in the front door, how do you get out? If they’re in the house with you try to migrate towards rooms which have exits, in case things escalate.
  • Set up a code word with your friends and family. If they call they know when you are in trouble.
  • Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers: eg Police DV unit, 24-hour domestic abuse helplines, emergency contacts. Perhaps even bookmark a link to this page in your phone.
  • Are there neighbours you can trust? If so ask them to contact the police if they hear anything.
  • Pack an emergency bag for yourself and the children. Hide it somewhere safe away from the house, maybe with a friend you can trust.
  • Keep a small amount of money on you at all times – including change for the bus or phone.
  • Keep your mobile phone on you and charged, with credit, at all times. If this is not possible, can you hide one somewhere?
  • If you suspect he or she is about to become violent, try to avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be items such as knives or heavy tools which can be used as weapons.
  • Avoid locking yourself in small rooms, especially bathrooms. Always try and get out of the property.
  • Give your friends or family a spare key to your house, if you are locked in they can help you escape.

Advice for survivors who are struggling

If you’re struggling to sleep or are dealing with flashbacks from domestic abuse or sexual violence, the charity at Rape Crisis has some great information to help you cope.

Sleep problems and Nightmares

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

‘Grounding’ techniques – to help you feel calmer and in control


Agencies which can offer help


GDASS – Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service

GDASS is a countywide service designed to reduce the level of domestic abuse and improve the safety of victims and their families. It is still operational during lockdown.

GDASS Website: https://www.gdass.org.uk/

GDASS email: support@gdass.org.uk

Helpdesk phone number: 01452 726 570

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.


Helping your neighbours at risk in Gloucestershire

Crimestoppers is a national charity which allows friends and neighbours to report domestic abuse anonymously.

Crimestoppers website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/personal-safety/domestic-abuse

Report concerns online: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously

Crimestoppers phone number: 0800 555 111


Counselling Services in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Counselling Service and Teens in Crisis are both available for victims of sexual violence, and continue to offer 12-weeks of funded counselling for all genders.  Gloucestershire Counselling Service is available to all age groups and Teens in Crisis is available to those under-21. Both are currently offering remote counselling sessions.

Gloucestershire Counselling Service Website: https://gloscounselling.org.uk/

Teens in Crisis Website: https://ticplus.org.uk/


Reporting a child at risk

If you have a concern about a child’s safety during lockdown, you can call the Children and Families Helpdesk at Gloucestershire County Council.

Website: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/children-young-people-and-families/report-a-child-at-risk

Email: childrenshelpdesk@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Phone number: 01452 426565

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. But if you are concerned about the immediate safety of a child please contact the Police on 101 at any time.


Hope House – Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Hope House SARC is a ‘Sexual Assault Referral Centre’ (SARC). It offers medical care, emotional and psychological support, and practical help to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. The centre is not routinely staffed during the day, but during office hours its phone line will be answered remotely. The centre also offers information and advice to friends and family if someone you care about has been affected by sexual assault. Its team of crisis workers is available to help during lockdown, and has an out-of-hours service which continues to offer 24-hour advice and support.

Website: https://www.hopehousesarc.nhs.uk/

Email: hopehousesarc@glos-care.nhs.uk

Phone Number: 0300 421 8400

Opening Hours: You can call Hope House 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Stroud Beresford Group – Stroud Women’s Refuge

Posted by Stroud Refuge on Sunday, 13 March 2016

Gloucestershire’s only Women’s Refuge continues to provide support for people affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Website: stroudwomensrefuge.org

Email: office@beresfordgroup.org

Phone Number: 01453 764385.

Opening Hours: You can call Stroud Women’s Refuge on weekdays.


GRASAC – Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

While the GRASAC office is currently closed, the centre is still operating a service and can be contacted via phone during office hours, or by email. Its helpline is also open but with revised hours of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 12.00pm – 14.00pm and Wednesday 6.30pm – 8.30pm. (Hours correct as of Thursday 2 April 2020)

Website: http://www.glosrasac.org/

Email: support@glosrasac.org.uk

Phone number: Office number: 01452 305421, Helpline: 01452 526770.

Opening Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 12.00 – 2.00 and Tues & Weds 6.30 – 8.30. (Hours correct as of Tuesday 19 May 2020)

 


National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge UK

Refuge is a national charity which supports more than 6,000 clients, helping them rebuild their lives and overcome many different forms of violence and abuse; including domestic violence, sexual violence, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, human trafficking and modern slavery, and female genital mutilation. The charity runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and uses the hashtag #SafetyInANumber.

Website: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

Phone number: 0808 2000 247

Refuge Website: https://www.refuge.org.uk/


Women’s Aid

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We know that COVID-19/ Coronavirus will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children. Survivors are telling us that they are feeling unsafe with the prospect of being isolated in the house with their perpetrator. We want to reassure survivors and local specialist services that we are here for you and we will be doing everything we can to support you during this challenging time. To read more, please click the link in the bio. Please share this post on your stories so we can reach out and support as many women as we can during this challenging time. If you'd like support us and help keep our life-saving services running, you can donate towards our urgent appeal by clicking in the bio. #covıd19 #coronavirus #domesticabuse #selfisolation #lockdown #safety #womensaid #VAWG

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Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. The charity offers a live-chat facility alongside a range of resources and information to help women stay safe during lockdown. View that here. Women’s Aid is also home to the Survivors’ Forum, a safe and anonymous space for women over the age of 18, who’ve been affected by domestic abuse.

Website: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

Live Chat: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/

Email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk

Survivors’ Forum: https://survivorsforum.womensaid.org.uk/


Rape Crisis (England and Wales)

Rape Crisis England & Wales is the umbrella body for a network of independent Rape Crisis Centres, each providing specialist support and services for victims and survivors of sexual violence. In Gloucestershire you can also access the support of the Survivors’ Trust.

Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk

The Survivors Trust Gloucestershire: https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/faqs/gloucestershire-rape-crisis-centre

Phone Number for Rape Crisis: 0808 802 9999

Phone Number for Survivors Trust: 08088 010818


Contacting Gloucestershire Constabulary

If you need help or want to tell the police something visit gloucestershire.police.uk, call 101, or in an emergency always call 999.