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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Avon and Somerset Police urges communities to look out for signs of domestic abuse

A picture of the At Home Shouldn't Mean at Risk Poster

As lockdown measures continue to ease, Avon and Somerset Police is encouraging communities to look out for one another and know the signs of abuse. With more people out and about in social bubbles and contacting friends and family more frequently, it’s important that we learn to recognise the signs of someone being abused, manipulated and controlled.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. It happens in all types of relationships, regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability, sexuality, lifestyle, nationality or age.
It isn’t always easy to immediately recognise the signs that someone is being abused. But, if you notice something isn’t quite right with a friend, neighbour, or someone from your community, we urge you to look, listen, ask and ask again. Some of the things to look out for could be your friend being texted an inappropriate number of times by their partner when they aren’t together, sudden lack of contact from someone, or over-hearing abusive language from neighbours during an argument.

We want to remind people that we all have a responsibility to look out for one another, and to recognise the signs of someone being manipulated and abused. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

Domestic abuse can also take many different forms – physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial. Psychological and emotional abuse is known as coercive control. This type of abuse can be difficult to spot but can make victims question their worth, limit their contact with friends and family, and make victims feel they can’t cope alone.

We also want to remind victims of domestic abuse that you are not alone. We are here, our partners are here and we can help you. We urge anyone who is in an abusive relationship, or anyone who suspects someone they know to be in an abusive relationship to speak to us by calling 101. If you or someone else you know is in immediate danger – call 999. If you can’t speak, call 101 and dial 55, this will alert the phone operator who will put you straight through to the police. If you aren’t comfortable talking to the police, we encourage you to speak to a specialist service in your area.

Signs you are in an abusive relationship:

• Your partner is violent or threatening towards you
• Your partner criticises you and puts you down
• Your partner is controlling about what you do, where you go, who you see or what you spend
• You feel afraid of your partner
• You think you are to blame for the way your partner treats you
• You feel embarrassed when your friends and family see how partner treats you
Signs someone you know may be in an abusive relationship:
• They withdraw from their circle of friends and do less with other people
• They receive lots of phone calls or texts from their partner when they are not with them
• They become anxious when they might be home late or plans change
• They have unexplained bruises or physical injuries.

For more information about organisations and services for domestic abuse victims, please visit: www.thisisnotanexcuse.org

If you are in an abusive relationship, or you suspect someone you know to be in an abusive relationship to speak to us by calling 101. If you or someone else you know is in immediate danger – call 999. If you can’t speak, call 101 and dial 55, this will alert the phone operator who will put you straight through to the police.