If Home Is Not A Safe Place
While we’re currently on lock down, there’s all sorts of advice about how to have fun while you’re indoors. But here’s some tips for staying safe if you’re at home and your home isn’t a safe space. We’ve obviously written these for quarantine, but they’re pretty useful in general.
Please remember, if you’re in immediate danger/someone is threatening to hurt you/ someone has hurt you please call the emergency services on 999.
Make sure you’re speaking to friends and other family members regularly. Try and plan things like video calls, playing games or watching things together through Netflix Party so you’re having a break from the people in your house.
Think about who you can trust and who you’re happy to confide in. Let them know if you feel unsafe or if something happens at home that isn’t OK.
If you need to, think of a code word system that you can message someone and they’ll ring you straight away or call the emergency services, depending on what’s happening. It could be any word of your choosing but make it stand out, make it memorable and make sure the person you’re contacting understands what the word is and what it means for them. Ask them to check in with you at a certain time of the day when you need a reason to leave a room or take a break from a potentially confrontational situation. Here’s some Government guidance on how to get help, that you might find useful too.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone you can talk to, then there are lots of helplines and support services out there. They can help you with what to say and who to contact. We’ve linked a few here!
Being stuck inside can increase people’s frustrations, so be aware of disagreements, tempers escalating and people lashing out. Try and avoid unsafe circumstances as best you can. If a tense situation occurs, walk away. Right now it’s about diffusing these situations to keep you and others in your house safe. Think about why you need to try and stay calm, and the consequences of the actions you may take.
Having a cool off period might mean that you can address things more calmly at a later point. If you can go out for a walk (safely whilst respecting social distancing) then get some fresh air and have some space. Plan reasons to leave the room, like taking your dog for a walk or taking out the bins. These can be used to escape intense environments when you need to.
Safe Space in the House
Avoid rooms/ times of the day where stressful situations may occur. Try and figure out a room or place in your house/ garden where you feel safe. Think about where you do your work and where you chill out. Try and have a separation for your own peace of mind, but also to give yourself some structure. Where can you go that’s going to keep you out of harm’s way? Where do you feel comfortable and where can you have some alone time?
A safety plan is a tool to assist in identifying options and evaluating them, and can limit the harm brought upon you.
There is no right or wrong way to develop a safety plan but you have to come up with it yourself so it’s easier to remember. Think about the following:
- Who to call
- A safe place you can stay or get to
- Things you need in an emergency- medication you take/your phone charger etc
- What to do if you’re caring for someone else or if they need support
- What is the safest and quickest way out of your house
- To tell the police if you’ve left home
- Remember- In an emergency call 999
We recommend keeping your mobile charged and with you as much as you can. We also suggest you try and have a little money on you. Keep your emergency items somewhere handy and close to your exit, so they’re easy to grab if you need them.
Helplines, Apps and Support
I know we keep saying about helplines but this is what they’re here for. These services are run by people trained to listen and to help you. They are professional and they will do their best to help you. Normally we’d recommend speaking to a teacher or your GP but that’s not that easy right now.Here’s some places that are still operating that you can contact from home:
Young Minds Crisis Messenger service
Text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 mental health support if you are having a mental health crisis.
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small.
Freephone 24/7 helpline: 0800 1111
Sign up for a childline account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address.
Chat 1:1 with an online advisor
For anyone in distress or needing support you can contact Samaritans for free anytime day or night.
Freephone (UK and Republic of Ireland): 116 123 (24 hours)
For under 25’s- lot’s of advice and info on support services.
Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (1pm – 11pm daily)
If you identify as a woman and you feel like you might be dealing with domestic abuse you can talk to Women’s Aid who offer free, confidential support.
You can also chat to a support worker using their free instant messenger service, Mon-Fri (10am-12pm)
If you’re part of the LGBT+ community and you’re struggling at home right now check out Stonewall. Lots of info and support if you freephone 0800 0502020. Lines are open 9.30am-4.30pm Monday- Friday.
Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app, providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. It looks like your average weather app but has a lot of info on that can help you.
Look After Yourself
These are strange and stressful times. Please remember to take care of yourself as much as you can. That could be as simple as remembering to eat or trying to get a good night’s sleep. Heck, even just having a shower every day is a good goal to set. Try and do as much self care as you can right now. Do things that make you happy. We’ve got a bunch of ideas on our website for ways you can cope. If you’re struggling right now then check out some of our suggestions here.
Please know that anything that happens to you is not your fault. You are worth happiness and love. You deserve to be safe.
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