Recent measures announced to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), such as the order to stay at home, can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.
For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you.
Support for victims in Luton
Please note: some of these organisations are running reduced/modified services, please call or check their social media pages to confirm.
- Stepping Stones continue to offer support to clients via phone, video messaging (eg WhatsApp, Skype) and text messaging from home. For further information:
- Luton All Women’s Centre
- Women’s Aid Luton offer support and guidance to women’s and children from all backgrounds and circumstances. Also offer refuges to women and support for children.
- Bedfordshire Signpost Hub
- From Hurt to Healing - free online live mindfulness course for survivors of domestic abuse, to support with challenges such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sleep issues, isolation and fear.
- Mindfulness and wellbeing at work webinars to support you through Covid-19 and beyond, for key workers, frontline workers, or third-sector workers in the UK.
- National helplines/websites
- Victim Support - 08 08 16 89 111 or live chat service available 24/7
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline for female victims of abuse: 0808 2000 247
- Mens Advice Line for male victims of abuse: 0808 8010 327
- Monday and Friday: 9am to 8pm by phone and email
- Wednesday to Friday: webchat service 10 to 11am and 3 to 4pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 12pm and 4 to 6pm by email
- LGBT+ National Domestic Abuse Helpline for LGBT+ victims of abuse - 0800 999 5428
- Sign Health domestic abuse service: running a modified service:
- Women's Aid offers an online chat service, 10am to 12pm on weekdays - see Women’s Aid Live Chat. They've also produced safety advice for victims and survivors during this time.
- GOV.UK guidance - domestic abuse: how to get help
- Guidance for those with a learning disability - read the When it's not safe to stay at home guide by Beyond Words.
- Advice for friends and family of those experiencing domestic abuse - the Hollie Gazzard friends and family advice guide is for people who have a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague who they think may be in a relationship with a partner or an adult family member who has been abusive towards them.
Stalking risks during coronavirus
Calls to the National Stalking Helpline indicate that stalkers will not stop stalking whilst in lockdown. Their behaviour is driven by fixation and obsession and is unlikely to stop just because they are not permitted to leave their house freely.
We also know that in normal circumstances restrictions on stalkers movements have very little impact (for example the ongoing breaching of restraining orders) and they continue to stalk.
If you're concerned that you or someone you know is being stalked, take a look at this guide, prepared by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust providing lots of information and support on stalking.
Sexual abuse support/helplines:
Sexual violence support for LGBT+
Galop provides a free, confidential and independent service for all LGBT+ individuals who have experienced sexual assault, violence or abuse, however or whenever it happened.
Contact the sexual violence support service on:
Economic abuse often occurs alongside other forms of abuse and is commonly part of a pattern of behaviour through which abusers seek to control their victims.
Coercing a partner into debt is a common tactic that perpetrators of economic abuse use. They seek to create instability, and make it difficult for you to leave and rebuild your life.
An abuser may have:
- forced to take out credit
- used credit in your name
- made you use your credit against your wishes
This may have left you with debts you can’t repay. There are a number of solutions to coerced debt that you can explore with a qualified debt adviser. These include explaining the circumstances to the lender and asking them to write off the debt.
This is not a guaranteed solution, and it is important to speak to an adviser about all your options and the best option for you.
Staying safe during coronavirus
To support you during Covid-19, Rockpool
have created a series of factsheets designed to offer some support and strategies, whatever your situation. They're based on what they know about people’s responses to traumatic events and what can help. Download their factsgeets below.
- Being safe
- Keeping connected
- Understanding resilience
- A nurturing environment
- Understanding Emotions and Healthy Relationships
A safe space for people experiencing domestic abuse during Covid-19
UK says no more has teamed up with Boots UK to launch safe spaces in their pharmacies across the UK.
Victims of domestic abuse will be able to access the consultation rooms in Boots UK pharmacies, where they will be able to contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice.
Free rail travel for domestic abuse victims
Victims of domestic abuse can contact the charity Women's Aid, or a domestic abuse helpline or local outreach service and the train ticket will be obtained on the woman's behalf.
If you're supporting a resident who is suffering from domestic abuse and needs help and support for their own accommodation, here are the key contacts who can provide help and advice.
Alternatively, you can contact:
Support for children and young people
Advice for parents on keeping children safe onlineChildnet International's - Parents and Carers Toolkit
, provides three resources that offer practical tips and advice on different aspects of keeping your child safe online. They can help support parents and carers of any age child to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support.
Substance misuse in young people
Aquarius offers support to anyone under 18 in Bedfordshire who is affected by substance misuse.
Coronavirus and child contact arrangements
Many families will have to make changes to child contact arrangements that were in place, but how significant those changes are will depend on the circumstances of the individual family. Rights of Women have set out what they believe to be the most sensible approach in the current climate
supports young people aged 13 to 19 (up to 24 with disabilities) across the town and locally to:
- advance in life
- feel safe
- bring a reality to their imaginative ideas
To contact Tokko:
- an online space to help children and young people understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if they are experiencing it.
FJYPB members also give their thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting them and the booklet includes ‘top tips’ for:
- keeping in touch with family and friends
- how to make the best of being at home
- what to do if feeling unsafe or unwell
Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and support for parents and carers
The NSPCC has created an online hub providing advice and support for parents and carers during the coronavirus outbreak. The content includes information on keeping children safe from abuse; tips and advice for parents working from home and ways to talk to a child who is anxious about the coronavirus.
Home-Start, commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council, have produced the Understanding The Teenage Brain video
for South Bedfordshire parents as they're unable to deliver sessions physically during lockdown.
Concerns about a child?
If, during the course of your duties you have concerns for a child, the Access and Referral Hub
is available to support and provide advice or guidance. They can be contacted on:
Support for perpetrators
Many families and relationships will feel increased pressure, and for those living with domestic abuse this could cause serious harm.
Even in times of crisis, perpetrators are still responsible for their behaviours and abuse and the focus of responsibility must stay on the perpetrator.
The Respect Phoneline is a key source of support for people concerned about their behaviour and wanting to manage and change it.
This is a useful resource for men in crisis situations where the risk of losing control and becoming violent is increased.