"If you are living in an abusive relationship, it's always hard to make contact with people outside, so it's going to be harder now because the abusive partner is likely to be present all the time, but the support we offer is still available.
Our Helpline is running across West Mercia, including Herefordshire, and everyone that works for us has access to the
technology to enable them to continue to contact women and families. Our Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs)
and Hospital Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (HIDVA) are still working hard to ensure that people at high risk of harm from
domestic abuse are safe. Each IDVA/HIDVA is continuing to advocate on behalf of their clients with partner agencies such as
the Police, Probation and Health agencies. Children and Young People’s Workers are providing parents and teachers with on-line
resources and advice so that children who have been affected by domestic abuse can continue to be supported by the people who
are caring for them at home or in school. Supporting families in refuge and safe accommodation is more challenging but not impossible. Residents already shop for themselves and take care of their own families like everyone else, and those in
refuge will still have regular contact with someone they know and trust from Women’s Aid. Women are still being admitted to refuge as long as they have not been advised to self-isolate. West Mercia Women’s Aid is still open for business, if not quite business as usual. We are working hard to ensure that those who need us can still get support."
Sue Coleman, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women's Aid
Practical steps for keeping safe during social distancing
Immediate risk - call 999 for the Police
Immediate risk to life comes before social isolation.
- The Police are responding to domestic abuse calls 24/7. Your call will be a priority.
- Ask your local Policing team to drive by where you live on a random but regular basis – to clearly show they are looking out for you
Contact West Mercia Women’s Aid
If you are experiencing or recovering from domestic abuse:
- Refuges are open if you need to flee for yoursafety
- Advice and support is available for all who need
- it – by telephone or social media
- Women’s Aid, the Police and other agencies are working together so that victims of domestic abuse are safe and supported – this is especially important now.
Contact West Mercia Women's Aid Helpline - Available 24 hours / 7 days a week:
Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin - 0800 783 1359.
Worcestershire - 0800 980 3331.
LiveChat – to chat ‘silently’ with a support worker on our website
available Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 2:30pm
‘Make Yourself Heard’ - What to do if you urgently need help from the Police, but can’t speak.
If you’re in an emergency situation and need Police help:
- Dial 999
- Cough or make another noise to let operator know you are there and your call is genuine. They can then alert the Police on your behalf.
- If transferred to the Police and you still can't talk, press 55 and they will continue to listen.
Follow the link below and memorise the process – it may make all the difference when you need urgent help. policeconduct.gov.uk
Smart use of your smart phone
Set up speed dials on your phone
- for Police
- for a trusted friend who knows to call the Police if they get a ‘dead call’ from you.
- agree a safe word or emoji with friends and family, which they know means to ring 999 for you
Safety for your children
Safety plan with your children if they are old enough to understand:
- Tell them to go to their room if violence starts to escalate
- Make sure they know to go to a neighbour for help, or dial 999 and ask for the Police and say they need help and give their address.
Safe at home
If you are in a situation where you may be assaulted or where the risk of violence is getting worse:
- Keep yourself close to exits if at all possible
- Know which rooms in the house have locks – to buy you the time to call others for help
- Choose a room in where you can barricade yourself and plan - where you can you pull a set of drawers in front of the door while you call for help, for example?
- Try to avoid the kitchen and bathroom where there is easy access to sharp objects and chemicals.
Use your support networks
- Ask people to check in on you in a casual but regular way, that doesn’t raise suspicions of your partner
- Everyone is contacting people more often at the moment to check that they are well – take advantage of this fact so that this all seems normal to your partner
- Find ways to safely stay in touch with friends and family. This will help your mental health especially in times of particular stress and anxiety
How to help a neighbour or friend
- Call 999 and ask for the Police, if you feel someone may be in immediate danger
- Call West Mercia Women’s Aid Helpline for advice on how to help if you have a worry (Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin - 0800 783 1359. Worcestershire 0800 980 3331)
At a 2 metre social distance, make a point of asking how they are coping with being isolated in the house. If you can’t talk without being overheard, then say you would be happy to help them with ‘any difficulties’ they may be having – they will know what you mean.
Download a personal safety app
Personal safety apps have silent safeguarding options,
such as alerting designated contacts if you are in danger.
Find out more at
West Mercia Women's Aid Helpline is available all day everyday, as always.
Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin - 0800 783 1359
Worcestershire - 0800 980 3331
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