Written by Vicky Booty

Prior to working at the commissioner's office Vicky worked as a Community Safety Partnership Lead Manager within a local authority.

Living with abuse is hard and can be exhausting. During the lockdown those experiencing abuse are likely to have had even fewer opportunities than usual to get out of their home for any sort of emotional and physical break. For those living with abuse during the lockdown it may also have seemed almost impossible to contact anyone for help and support. How do you call the police for help if you’re not allowed to use the phone? How do you search for advice if the person hurting you monitors and sees everything you do online?

If you feel that you or someone else in your family is in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse you can call the police on telephone 999.

Although Covid-19 may have stopped a lot of people from doing a lot of things, what it hasn’t stopped is the practical help and support that is available for anyone experiencing domestic abuse. Some of that help and support may look, feel and sound a little different because of the pandemic and the need for things like social distancing, but it is very much still there for anyone who may need it right now.

When should I call the police?

If you feel that you or someone else in your family is in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse you can call the police on telephone 999. This could include for example, when:

  • you believe that you (and/or others in your family) are at immediate risk of violence;
  • there is an immediate threat of violence to you or someone else in your family;
  • there is an immediate danger to your life (or that of someone else such as your child);
  • the situation is violent at that moment or you believe it is going to become violent and you need help;
  • you (or someone else in your family) have been injured and you need help.

Ultimately if you feel that you need the police in an emergency, then don’t hesitate to call them. The person taking your call will ask you some questions and explain how the police are going to respond. Details about how to make a silent call to the police in an emergency can be found below.

What happens when I call the police?

For anyone who wants to report what’s happening to police, they can contact the police in an emergency by calling 999 and in non-emergencies via the 101 service. If it’s too dangerous for someone to speak, they can make a silent call to the police but it’s really important that it’s done correctly. A guide about silent calls can be found at the Independent Office for Police Conduct website here. Many police forces also offer other ways to get in touch like email and live webchat, and provide information on their own websites for people experiencing domestic abuse.

When you call the police their priority will be your safety and the safety of your children if you  have them. To find out more about what exactly the police may do when you call them in an emergency, visit Women’s Aid here  for detailed information. After you’ve contacted the police you may be offered a range of help and support from other organisations. This could include being offered the support of an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA). An IDVA is a specialist caseworker who can help you to decide what action you want to take and the support and help that you might need which feels right for you.

Other help

There are many national and local organisations including statutory agencies, charities and other not-for-profit organisations who can offer help and support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. You can find many of them the Useful Links section of this website.




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