Covid-19 Coronavirus

Domestic abuse

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Isle of Man, as in other Countries, there has been an increase in domestic abuse reported during the current lockdown. 

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Abuse can take many forms. Most domestic abuse occurs in intimate relationships, but abuse can happen in other settings too, including between family members, such as adolescent to parent violence and abuse.

If you feel you are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including the Police, online support, helplines, refuges and other services.

How to recognise Domestic abuse in a relationship

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner, or former partner, ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?

Threats and intimidation

Does your partner, or former partner, ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Does your partner, or former partner, ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they’re male or female.

Does your partner, or former partner, ever:

  • touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

If your partner, or former partner, has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape.

  • Have you ever felt afraid of your partner or former partner?
  • Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner, or former partner, might do?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there is help available.

‘Honour’-based abuse

If you are suffering abuse from your family or community because they say that you have compromised their ‘honour’, or if they are trying to force you into marriage, you can get help. Karma Nirvana runs the national honour-based abuse helpline.

Telephone: 0800 5999 247


Support a friend if they’re being abused

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.  Neighbours and community members can be a life-line for those living with domestic abuse. Look out for your neighbours, if someone reaches out to you there is advice on this page about how to respond.

They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.

If someone confides in you that they’re suffering domestic abuse:

  • listen, and take care not to blame them
  • acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
  • give them time to talk, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to
  • acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation
  • tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said
  • support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions
  • don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision
  • ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
  • help them report the assault to the police if they choose to
  • be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse

If you are worried that a friend, neighbour or loved one is a victim of domestic abuse then you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.

Women’s Aid has a list of useful links for websites and organisations providing relevant information and support.

Advice for victims to think about during lockdown

  • FaceTime or call someone you trust and talk to them about what you are experiencing and what your concerns are. Have a code word to let the trusted person know it is not safe to talk or to call the police.
  • Set up check-in calls with someone you trust at certain times in the week.
  • As much as possible, stick to usual routines. Maintaining basic self-care like eating, showering, sleeping and exercising to help your mental health.
  • Take breaks when you can. Walk outside, read a magazine or get the kids involved in an online exercise class.
  • Do you have a personalised safety plan? Think about what needs updating or changing because of what is happening now.
  • Can a specialist domestic abuse charity or the domestic abuse officer at the Police help you do this? If you can’t see or speak to them are there other professionals you trust and can talk to?
  • Do you have a supportive employer? Can you talk to them about what is happening?
  • Patterns of abuse
  • Download phone apps such as The Brightsky app, which will help you find services, and the Hollie Gazzard app, which turns your smartphone into a personal safety device.
  • What is the usual pattern of abuse? E.g. is it worse when the kids are around or not around? This might help you think about times when things might be calmer.
  • Will the person who is harming you be out of work or working from home? Will your family income be affected? How could this affect things?
  • Does the person harming you use drugs and/or alcohol? How could their use change and what could this mean?
  • Do you know how they might respond to self-isolation? Think about whether this might increase the sexual violence/ coercive control/physical abuse.
  • What are your main concerns and worries? These are the things you need to share with your specialist domestic abuse worker, trusted professional and if you need to ring the police on 999 for help.
  • Check if there is software on your IT, such as listening devices and cameras in the home. How will this change the way you might get help?
  • Do you know what your options are if you want to leave or what your options are if you want to stay, but want the person harming you to leave?  Victim Support IOM, Women’s Aid IOM and the domestic abuse officer at the police can help you think this through.

Safety planning suggestions

  • Have you talked your domestic abuse specialist through the layout of your house so you can think about any places of safety?
  • If you had to leave in an emergency do you know where you would go? Remember many shops/restaurants/pubs will be shut.
  • If someone you trust is doing your shopping for you could you write a message on the shopping list asking for help?

Code word

  • Have a bag packed ready if you can. Leave this at a trusted friend/family/neighbour’s home. This should contain medical essentials, important documents including passports/driving licence. Maybe the service you are in touch with could keep copies of these documents?
  • Have a code word to signal you are in danger - set this up for family and friends to let them know by text/FaceTime/Skype. The code will need to alert them to contact the police if you are in danger.
  • Teach the code to children who are old enough to understand what you are asking of them and why.
  • Have a little bit of money hidden away in case you need this to leave.
  • Do you need a separate mobile which you can use just to call for help? The service you are in touch with may be able to supply this.
  • If there are times you know you can talk, share this with your specialist worker and agree how you will reach each other.
  • Use the fact there are no online shopping slots available to go to the shop and speak to someone.
  • Consider whether there is someone else you could move in with. For instance, a vulnerable family member who will need your support.
  • If you do access any information from domestic abuse help websites, you may need to delete your browser history or use ’private browsing’ as a way to hide your searches.

Report it

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the Police.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can.

The Emergency Services Joint Control Room will pick up and record your call and help will be provided. Police will get to you, even if you can’t keep the line open.  Police are able to respond to 'dropped' 999 calls.

Isle of Man Constabulary

If, you are in immediate danger, you should call 999 and ask for the Police. 

The Police will respond to emergency calls and reports of domestic abuse, at any time of the day or night.

Domestic abuse officer

Tel: +44 1624 631495 

If you suspect abuse

Report the matter to the Adult Protection Team, telephone: +44 1624 685969.

If you have an emergency after office hours and need to contact a social worker urgently:

  • In case of an adult ring Noble's Hospital and ask for the on call social worker for adults, telephone: +44 1624 650000
  • In the case of a child ring Douglas Police Station, telephone: +44 1624 631212


Relate have relationship counsellors trained in Domestic Abuse.

Open weekday mornings 9am to 12noon 
(Tuesdays open until 1.30pm)

Tel: +44 1624 623902


Victim Support

Continue to support people throughout COVID-19

Open 08.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Tel: +44 1624 679950


Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse Helpline

Open all year round 8am to 10pm.

Tel: +44 1624 677900

Women’s Refuge

Women’s Refuge is open and available to victims of domestic abuse, should they require somewhere to stay. 

The Women’s Refuge can be accessed via the Police or Victim Support.

Other useful links

Safeguarding and vulnerable women - during pregnancy

Housing matters

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm

Tel: 0808 1624 100 or +44 1624 675507


Motiv8 Addiction Services

Tel: +44 1624 627656

Mobile: +44 7624 426400


Economic abuse

Office of Fair Trading - Debt Counselling Service

Tel: +44 01624 686500


Dealing with your debts Information guide

The UK charity Surviving Economic Abuse has also provided additional guidance and support

Note: that some of these UK links may not be available or apply to the Isle of Man. 

Welfare benefits and housing advice

Isle of Man Government benefits and financial support

COVID-19 Funding and support

Public Sector Housing Division

Housing matters

Manx Citizens Advice Service


Contact arrangements for children

Family mediation

UK Sites

National Domestic Abuse Helpline


Women’s Aid

Men’s Advice Line

Galop - for members of the LGBT+ community


Mobile phone apps

Bright Sky


Support for children and young people




Family Lives

Support for employers

Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse 

Support for professionals

SafeLives is providing guidance and support to professionals and those working in the domestic abuse sector, as well as additional advice for those at risk.

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