As England went into its third national lockdown there were concerns about what impact this would have on people who are victims of domestic violence.
Three North West domestic violence campaigners have put together this advice about how to cope with domestic violence and how to support someone experiencing abuse.
Jane Gregory is CEO of the Salford Survivor Project, a domestic and family abuse charity.What to do if you are experiencing domestic abuse 1. Talk to someone... a friend, family member, a doctor, a teacher, a neighbour. Or speak to a local service - just to understand what is going on and find out what support is available. 2. Believe in yourself. Understand that you have survived so far, so you can survive leaving them.3. Write down 5 good things about the relationship/abuser and 5 bad. Writing good points is much harder.4. Understand if you are unhappy because of what someone is doing to you then it is abuse. Understand that you cannot change their behaviour and you are not responsible for their behaviour.How to support a friend or family member1. Be patient and this goes hand in hand with not judging someone3. Don't advise - give them options instead. Find out what they want and give them options.3. Listen to them. Being able to understand someone's reasons for staying will help the friend find the options which have been missing.4. Do your research to aid understanding. Many people experiencing domestic abuse can be in a traumatic bonding cycle.More help and information is on https://thesurvivorproject.co.uk/
Hera Hussain, is the founder of Chayn, which uses online tools to fight against gender-based violence.What to do if you are experiencing domestic abuse1. Know it's not your fault. No one invites abuse into a relationship that should be based on trust.2. Collect evidence and separate your finances.3. Trust and confide in someone who can help you get out of this toxic situation.4. Get in touch with online services or your local women's organisation who can help.How to support a friend or family member1. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Many will not share what is happening to them out of self-doubt, fear of being judged or not believed, shame and a hope that things may get better.2. Build trust and slowly build up a conversation by asking them if they need help and that you are there for them.3. Listen more than talk.4. If they go back to the abuser, don't withdraw support.More help and information is on https://chayn.co/
Amna Abdullatif works for Women's Aid and is based in Manchester.What to do if you are experiencing domestic abuse1. Lockdown rules do not apply for anyone experiencing domestic abuse which means that support services, including the police and access to refuge provision, are available to support women and their children.2. In any emergency situation, you should always call 999. From a mobile, if you're unable to speak you can press 55 and this will automatically be sent to the police, however, this does not track where you are.3. There is an option for connecting with the police by text for anyone who is deaf or unable to communicate verbally, but their number must be registered. Details on how to do this are here: https://www.emergencysms.net/4. Women's Aid offers a live chat service - Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and Sat-Sun 10am-12pm which may be easier to access while in lockdown at home.https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/You can also find your local domestic abuse service on their website who will have their own local support services including refuge.How to support a friend or family member1. Read up on the resources available online to better understand your friends position and why they may be unable to leave the perpetrator.2. Be there for them with understanding and without judgement. Make sure you contact them regularly as long as it's safe to do so, making them aware that you are there for them whatever they decide.3. Offer safe strategies for leaving the perpetrator if that is something they are ready for. It must be at their own pace and a decision they make.4. Never approach the abuser or suggest that you have spoken to your friend. This can escalate situations and needs to be avoided.More help and information is on https://www.womensaid.org.uk/