Is the thought of having to spend more time at home because of COVID-19 causing you anxiety? This could be for any number of reasons. One might be because spending longer periods of time together can often create extra tension in families, but even more so when you are living with domestic abuse at home. Another reason might simply be that you have more time to sit and think about things that have happened to you, whenever they might have happened. In spite of the current situation, there are resources that you can continue to access online and by telephone for support and advice. Remember that domestic abuse isn't always physical. If you need help and want to contact services but it isn't safe to do so at home, there are safe spaces in Torbay that you can use to make phone calls. You can leave the house to seek help or escape harm during lockdown. We have general advice on staying safe in I need help.
Please don’t feel that there is no-one around at the moment. Services may have adapted but there is a wide range of services that can be contacted in various ways to support you if you are finding things particularly difficult. Our website gives information on a wide range of topics, mainly related to domestic abuse and sexual violence and you can also use the directory to find contact details for services (local and national) who can provide specific advice. If you have an IDVA or ISVA, you should still be able to keep in touch with them, as long as they are working and are not poorly themselves. It is very unlikely that contact will be face to face, but you should be able to speak to a familiar voice. Torbay Domestic Abuse Service is operating a telephone outreach service and they can be contacted on 0800 916 1474. If you aren’t able to contact local services, but need to speak to someone, you can contact the Victim Care Unit 01392 475900. Alternatively, Refuge offer a national 24/7 helpline (Freephone) 0808 2000 247. You can ask for help with lots of things, including domestic abuse, by contacting the Torbay Community Helpline 01803 446022.
Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services offer a confidential telephone service and can also be contacted by email. Having to spend an extended period of time at home may provide an opportunity for memories you had thought were buried long ago to resurface. If you need help to deal with these, no matter when they happened, Devon Rape Crisis can offer support and advice anonymously if you wish. If you are raped or experience sexual violence at home, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre can give you support and advice around how to access their forensic medical support and ISVA service.
If the current situation means that you need to find alternative accommodation as a result of domestic abuse, Torbay Council’s Housing Options Team are currently not able to see people face to face, but are still providing a service by telephone on 01803 208723. More information is available online www.torbay.gov.uk/housing
The Mind website has some really helpful information which you can use to cope with increased anxiety and stress and their section on Tips for Everyday Living are useful for everyone, regardless of their individual circumstances. Remember too that the Samaritans will always be available to talk to anyone, no matter what they are going through. Their helpline 116123 is free to call and is available 24/7. Check out the Toolkits section for workbooks that you can use for yourself and with your children.
Please always telephone the police on 999 if you believe that you, your children or wider family are in immediate danger.
The Torbay Council website contains some general information on COVID-19 and links to the NHS and .GOV.uk websites where you can find all the most up to date information on the current situation and what to do if you think you have symptoms.
We hope that you won’t need to contact any of the domestic abuse or sexual abuse support services or other services mentioned, but please remember that these are available should you need them. Stay safe and remember there is no excuse at all for domestic abuse or sexual violence and it is never your fault.