Reducing the Risk guidance to Covid-19
Guidance for friends and family:
Under Coronavirus Restrictions
It is essential that you stay in touch regularly with anyone you are concerned about during this unique time in our history. Here are a few considerations:
- Spotting the signs of economic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak — A useful read for family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse - from HM Government.
As well as a few suggestions and things to consider:
Check in by phone more regularly than normal and use concerns about the coronavirus as your excuse to talk.
Consider that the call may be monitored.
Be very careful about what you say but try to assess whether they are at risk or struggling to cope.
Consider a video call such as Skype, Zoom, Facetime etc. and just see what their body language is like — are they presenting as they normally do? Do they have any visible injuries? Do they seem nervous? Are they giving you any hidden messages?
If you live nearby and it is safe (under current conditions) to, exercise passed their house.
Try to see them in person with an excuse such as just passing, or wanted to drop off some food to their doorstep. Ensure to follow Covid-19 restrictions during this.
You can communicate through a window to see them in person — from a safe and legal distance.
Face to face meetings, even from a distance or over a video call, can be much more informative than a phone call.
IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, consider trying to get them to make contact with domestic abuse services.
If you know any other mutual friends that can also keep in regular contact, try to create a rota on monitoring the situation. This may seem less suspicious than just you popping up constantly.
If you have concerns, you can call police on their non emergency number — 101.
You can also contact local DA helplines on their behalf to discuss your concerns.
If you are still concerned about their immediate safety, call 999. The police are still attending incidents as they always have!
If you have concerns about anyone under 18 or a vulnerable adult you should contact your local social services or Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub ASAP.
Adopt some of the suggestions we recommend during normal circumstances, but only if you feel it is safe to, and can guarantee that the call or meeting from a distance is not being monitored!
Reducing the Risk — working during Covid-19 restrictions
We are all having to cope with such changes to work and home life balance and it is difficult for everyone. We cannot though forget that this must be especially hard for those living with domestic abuse and we do need to consider how we can best support them.
- SafeLives have produced generic national Safety Planning Guidance as well as other services available to practitioners.
- Women's Aid offer thorough advice to victims on their website.
- Spotting the signs of economic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak — for family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
- Surviving Economic Abuse have resources for professionals working with victims/survivors.
- SAFEcic has a host of useful advice, from their informative and free safeguarding resources to a useful Safeguarding Crisis Hub.
- COVID 19 advice for housing providers is on DA Housing Alliance website.
The normal specialist support for victims and families has obviously changed to a more remote but still very passionate one. Many DA services and helplines are now operating on a phone based service. For those victims that can come forward for help it obviously is harder than ever to consider their reduced options but professionals and organisations are doing all they can to support victims effectively.
For our DA Champions, here are a few things that you can utilise in whatever role you work:
- Our website does offer the following local pages for each network we run. They should be a first point of reference if you are supporting someone:
- Anybody who has applied to become a Champion of Domestic Abuse can log into our website to access DA Champion Guides. These offer a quick reference to you all for specific areas such as "Housing & Tenancy" or "Clare's Law".
- Anybody that has trained as a DA Champion can also utilise:
- The database of all our DA Champions that have been trained. This may allow you the chance to make direct contact with somebody from your training, or another champ who may be able to offer you some of their knowledge or even someone working in your role in another area who may want to collaborate on an initiative. The choice is yours but the details are part of the reciprocal agreement all champs agree — to share knowledge and contact details.
- The DA Champ Discussion Forums- this allows champions to open discussions and pose questions about cases (no names please).
- We will strive to offer practical advice and support if you still have a cause of concern and direct you accordingly. Just email us direct if you need clarity and cannot find help on our website.
- We asked our good friends at Aurora New Dawn if we should collaborate specifically regarding COVID19 restrictions such as isolation. Shonagh their CEO had already been compiling a COVID19 DA Safety Plan (log in first) and kindly agreed for us to adapt and share it cautiously. Please run through this with anyone isolated with an abusive partner.
We are here if you need us!
All of the staff and Trustees of Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse
Guidance from Livewell Oxfordshire: https://livewell.oxfordshire.gov.uk/