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Durham University

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Safety and domestic violence at home during Covid-19 restrictions

For staff working at home during the Covid-19 crisis, this can bring very different challenges depending on their individual circumstances. The health and wellbeing of our staff continue to be a priority during this time and the University provides wellbeing and working differently advice to offer support and help people to adapt to new ways of working. Being in lockdown, however, brings with it other risks such as those faced by people who are in isolation with members of their household who are abusive. Lockdowns and restrictions on movement mean increased rates of violence, because people have no escape from those perpetrating abuse.

Talking to someone and seeking support following abuse can be difficult, and even more so under conditions of restricted movement.

If you find yourself in immediate danger call 999. If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak call 999 wait for the operator then press 55 the operator will transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.

If you think you or someone you know has experienced an incident of domestic abuse, there is a variety of support options still available to students and staff during lockdown to help you decide on the next steps.

Help and Support

Refuges remain open despite current UK government restrictions on movement and travel. For guidance on accessing refuges visit: https://www.refuge.org.uk/our-work/our-services/refuges/

24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (for women) offers support, help and information to women experiencing domestic violence. They can be contacted at 0808 2000 247.

Harbour gives support, help and information to women and men experiencing domestic violence. They can be contacted at 0300 20 25 25.

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline provides specialist support for LGBT people who have experienced abuse, including sexual violence within a relationship. They can be contacted at 0800 999 5428. During Covid-19 restrictions Galop are offering a reduced service until further notice but are still accepting referrals for all their services.

The Men’s Advice Line(for men) provides support, help and information to men experiencing domestic violence. They can be contacted at 0808 801 0327.

If you are concerned about hurting those around you or engaging in behaviour that will damage these relationships you can contact the Respect Phoneline.

If you are in immediate danger or are seriously injured, and you need to contact the Police, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile). For non-emergency calls, dial 101. To find out more information about how the Durham Constabulary can support you, please click here

Support at Durham University

The Report and Support tool provides details on where to get advice and help. It also offers a platform for staff and students to report incidents of bullying and harassment, hate incidents, sexual misconduct and domestic abuse. Please note that our current ability to respond to reports is limited.

The Durham University Counselling Service is currently still offering a full service. All sessions will be offered remotely—psychological wellbeing, counselling and mental health advisory sessions—via the app Microsoft Teams (in Apps Anywhere), or via Zoom/ Skype or telephone. We are only able to call UK-based telephone numbers.

Independent support is also available to students through the Help and Advice Service at the Students’ Union . The SU have increased the capacity of the Advice Service to make sure you get the support and advice you need. Whether you're worried about how COVID-19 will impact your studies or your everyday life, you can now contact the SU directly via phone (helpline available 09:00-17:00: 07922648802) or email (dsu.advice2@durham.ac.uk)

The Chaplaincy and Faith Service continues online to offer pastoral support for both staff and students, they can be contacted at chaplaincy.swceoffice@durham.ac.uk. Additional information on Religious and Spiritual Resources in the time of Covid-19 can be found here.

Resources and information

The following are resources and information for those who feel unsafe, find themselves in situations of compromised safety, or those who may be in contact with them.

Women’s Aid safety advice for survivors describes the silent solution system and information on help and support.

The lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse (Professor Nicole Westmarland from Department of Sociology and Rosanna Bellini provide a guide on what we need to consider in relation to domestic abuse during lockdown)

The Survivor’s Handbook offers a practical support and information guide for women experiencing domestic abuse.

Victim Focus: Caring for yourself after sexual violence is a free e-learning course with unlimited access

Survivors Network: Survivors Self Help Guide is a self help guide for survivors who want to understand and process their own personal reactions to their experience

The Survivors Network: Resources is a list of resources for survivors and supporters including self-help guides, videos, galleries and more

Domestic violence and Abuse Briefing from County Durham providing information on abuse and local resources