Current lockdown restrictions (read the full lockdown restrictions and guidance) stipulate that everyone should stay at home where absolutely possible, with one or two exceptions.  By including specific reference to domestic abuse as one of those exceptions during his speech was an acknowledgement that the Prime Minister and the Government recognise the significant impact that the restrictions are having behind closed doors. 

Since March last year many families have been spending more time together than ever before and, for some, this won't have been a positive experience. Domestic abuse and sexual violence don't just happen to other people.  They can happen to anyone.

Domestic abuse may not be a term you would use and it may be difficult to identify when you're living with it. The I Need Help section of our website has information on recognising abuse, but remember there is no stereotypical form of abuse.  Whatever behaviours you experience they will have an impact on you and also on your children, no matter how much you think you might have hidden things from them. 

Those pages also have suggestions on keeping safe if you decide to stay, if you plan to leave and keeping safe online.  If you or your children are in immediate danger, always call the police on 999. 

Talking to services - whether they are public sector agencies, large organisations or small community based support services - may answer some of your questions about housing, benefits, legal queries about access to children or civil orders and injunctions.  They will also tell you about what other help might be available.  Check our Directory for local and national support services.  If you need somewhere to contact services and can leave home safely, there are safe places in Torbay where you can make phone calls.  

If you have experienced sexual violence there are services that can provide support and advice.  For very recent incidents (last couple of weeks) the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is available 24/7 and is able to offer face to face appointments.  They have arrangements in place if you are isolating or have tested positive for COVID so can still support you.  The SARC supports anyone of any age and can offer advice and signposting to other support services if your experience took place a while ago.  

Where you experienced sexual abuse as a child or the incident was not recent but you'd like to speak with someone, Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services have various ways of offering and providing support to anyone over the age of 13.  Opening up to someone takes time and their website also has some useful self help guides. 

Please seek advice and help if you or someone you know is living with domestic abuse or sexual violence.  There is never an excuse and it is never your fault.