In order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced drastic changes to our daily lives, and have been asked to stay at home as much as possible. Although this is essential to enable us to tackle the virus, being asked to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances, and we want to ensure that any member of staff feeling at risk during this time knows where they can turn for support.
Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to, coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
If you feel at risk, or are worried about somebody else who may be at risk, it is important to remember that the police and support services are still available to help and direct you to sources of support during this challenging time. If you believe you are being abused, or worried you may commit domestic abuse, remember you are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence. Please use the information and links below to find support.
Sources of support if you are not in immediate danger:
- The Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) codeword scheme has been developed to allow victims of domestic abuse to access support from the safety of their local pharmacy. If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.
- Refuge provide advice and support on their website, and have a freephone 24 hour domestic abuse helpline (0808 2000 247)
- The Pennine Domestic Abuse Partnership also provide advice and support, can provide safe accommodation and has a 24 hour helpline (0800 0527 222)
- Karma Nirvana provide support to victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage and have a confidential freephone support helpline open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (0800 5999 247)
- Men's advice line is a confidential helpline (0808 801 0327) for men experiencing domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members).
- The None in Three Centre here at the University has a Help and Support page which lists many other sources of support including both national and regional organisations.
Managers supporting those at risk:
- Managing and supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse - a guide for employers from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and CIPD.
- This briefing from Universities UK includes some information which may be helpful in supporting staff and students at greater risk due to the lockdown period relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Domestic Abuse Guidance for Staff
If you are concerned that you may commit abuse:
- You can call the RESPECT phoneline (0808 8024040) and a friendly Helpline Advisor will listen to you without judgement and give you honest advice.