Covid-19 - what are we doing? We know that this is a worrying time for everyone at the moment as we all try to deal with the ever-changing situation, and try to stay up to date with current health advice around self-isolation and social distancing. We also know that the government’s advice on self or household-isolation will have a direct impact on women and children experiencing domestic abuse. Home is not likely to be a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse and we are concerned that social distancing and self-isolation will be used as a tool of coercive and controlling behaviour by perpetrators, and will shut down routes to safety and support. As part of our commitment to individuals experiencing domestic abuse and their families who are worried about them - we’re doing our very best to make sure that we are always available to respond and help. Your safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us and we are prioritising our services in relation to safety and support above everything else. The way we offer our support might look a little different at the moment as we work to keep our staff well & healthy so that they can continue providing services. We have taken the following decisions with everyone’s safety and wellbeing in mind: We have paused our group-work (Freedom programmes & Healthy Relationships groups) for the foreseeable future until the government guidance changes to support the reintroduction of gatherings and the removal social distancing. In discussion with our partner agencies we have taken our staff out of community locations for the foreseeable future until government guidance changes. We are offering telephone support to our clients, focusing on safety and support. Our Refuges remain open and taking referrals for any vacancies we may have. We know from speaking to some women, that accessing support online or via text can be a safer or preferred option rather than calling for support if they are not able to leave the household, as the perpetrator could overhear them on the phone. Our practitioners are aware of this and are working with our current clients right now to ensure that our methods of contact are safe and don’t put them at any additional risk. Staying connected matters, now as much as it ever has and we believe that we all can play a part in helping each other get through this. If you can be there for each other, we encourage you to go for it… better to help too much than not enough. And a bit of advice that we feel is never a bad idea: Reach out often to those you love and let them know you care.Just like you, our ways of life are changing every day, and we are working hard to adapt in the best interests of the people we support and our employees. We’re in this together, we are as committed as ever, and will do everything in our power to take care of one another. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing abuse, please visit our support page, where you can access advice, guidance and find information about how to make a referral for services. In an emergency, call 999.