Last month the UK charity Refuge reported a 50 per cent increase in calls to its National Domestic Abuse Helpline and a 400 per cent spike in visits to its website since the COVID-19 lockdown began. 

The World Health Organisation has warned lockdown “stress and anxiety” has led to a sharp spike in the number of women reporting incidents of domestic abuse across Europe.

It says countries are reporting up to a 60 per cent increase in emergency calls by women subjected to violence by their partners in April this year, compared to last. Meanwhile, online enquiries to violence prevention support hotlines have increased up to five times.

The attached document gives advice on ‘Silent Solution’ – a police system used to filter out large numbers of accidental or hoax 999 calls but also designed to help people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need police assistance.

All 999 calls are initially handled by a BT operator and if no one speaks when they answer a call from a mobile they put it through to Silent Solution. It will ask you to press 55 to be put through to police call management. When transferred to your local police force, the police call handler will attempt to communicate with the caller by asking simple yes or no questions.

When 999 calls are made from landlines the Silent Solution service is not used, but information about where you’re calling from should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

Download the advice leaflet here.