As the easing of lockdown begins in the UK, many survivors of domestic abuse are likely to reach out to trusted friends and family for support.
Would you know how to help a friend?
As lockdown restrictions ease from March 8th, survivors of abuse who have been severely isolated during lockdown will be more able to seek support. Support is available from the police and specialist services, but many survivors are likely to come to a friend or family member first. With 1 in 4 women experiencing abuse as well as many men, trans and non-binary gendered people, it is likely we know at least one person who is impacted by domestic abuse.
Equation‘s Help a Friend campaign which is running in Nottingham/shire this month aims to help friends and family to support someone they care about through abuse. Campaign coordinator Frances Skinner says:
“Helping a friend in an abusive relationship can be really tough for you as well as them. Abuse is often very complex to both identify and navigate safely, and your friend may be experiencing trauma and not be themselves. It’s likely to require responses from you that aren’t going to be your first instinct. The simplest advice I can give is to be prepared and learn how to help a friend ahead of time, just in case.”
‘Help a Friend’ first launched in 2016 and has been run in Nottingham City and county in March each year to coincide with International Women’s Day. It hopes to reach more people than ever this year to increase effective support for survivors of domestic abuse in our community as lockdown ends. ‘Help a Friend’ calls on friends and family to be the best friend they can be by preparing now – rather than wishing they had later when their friend needs them most’.
In response to Covid, over the past year Equation has widened the campaign’s messaging to better meet the needs of survivors at this time. This includes translated adaptations of the campaign in Arabic, Polish, Romanian and Urdu being more widely promoted, featuring on billboards and other advertising platforms for the first time around the city.
You can learn how to #HelpAFriend at www.equation.org.uk/helpafriend. Anyone already worried about a friend should seek support from a professional helpline. While calling a helpline might seem like a big step, your chances of supporting them effectively and safely will increase drastically by talking it through confidentially and anonymously with the experts.
If you are worried about your friend’s relationship, trust your instincts.
Call the 24-hour free local domestic abuse helpline and find out how you can help her. Calling the Helpline might feel like a big step, but domestic abuse is often complex and difficult to navigate safely without expert advice. By calling Juno’s Helpline and discussing your friend’s case anonymously, you’ll be given guidance and advice to best support your friend and help keep them safer.
0808 800 0340
Speak to a female Helpline advisor any time, any day of the year by calling 0808 800 0340 for free. If you don’t get through the first time, leave your name, number and a safe time to call you back. If you would prefer, you can also email Juno’s Helpline team on email@example.com.
The helpline is run by Juno Women’s Aid. Find out more at junowomensaid.org.uk
For friends of male survivors:
Freephone the Men’s Advice Line (run by Respect) Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm: 0808 8010327, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use their webchat function
For Male Survivors:
Call Equation’s Domestic Abuse Service for Men living in Nottingham/shire Mon-Fri 09.30-16.30 on or you can email or refer online.
The Help A Friend Campaign
Our award-winning campaign gives ordinary people the tools to recognise if someone close to them is experiencing abuse, and help them reach expert support.
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