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Domestic abuse: Where to get help and how to make a silent 999 call

Yasmin Khan, the Welsh Government’s advisor for domestic abuse advises what help is available for victims

If you are a victim of domestic violence in Wales, or are concerned about a friend or loved one, there are many ways to receive help, advice and support.

On Tuesday, ITV Wales detailed how the daughters of a woman who was murdered by her partner have described the pain of watching their mother become a “helpless” victim of domestic abuse.

An estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years – 2.3 million people – experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

  • What is domestic abuse?

Police forces across Wales describe domestic abuse as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

This can also include honour-based abuse and forced marriage.

South Wales Police said: “Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background.

“If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it’s likely you’re a victim of domestic abuse.”

  • How to get help if you are a victim of domestic abuse:

Anyone who is immediate danger is advised to call 999. If they are unable to speak, the ‘Silent Solution system’ enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, when prompted by the call handler, to press 55 to inform police they are in a genuine emergency.

Whilst the police will not be able to track your mobile phone’s location by pressing 55 during the phone call, it will let the phone operator know that this is not a hoax call and you will be put through to the police.

If you call 999 from a landline, the Silent Solution system is not used as it is less likely that 999 calls are made by accident.

Many services have online chat or text messaging services if you are unable to speak on the phone.

Victims can walk into pharmacies across the UK using the code word ‘ANI’ and will be offered a quiet and private space by a member of staff who can support them;

The Help Hand signal – the signal is performed by holding one hand up with the thumb tucked into the palm, then folding the four other fingers down, symbolically trapping the thumb in the rest of the fingers.

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