Local, confidential support available for alcohol & domestic abuse

In the context of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, domestic abuse organisations are reporting that the number of calls to their helplines have increased significantly over the last few weeks. At least 16 suspected domestic abuse killings, in a 3-week period, have been identified in the UK by campaigners since the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed, which is far higher than the usual rate. The lockdown situation means that people are required to stay at home, but this may be putting survivors of domestic abuse in a precarious situation, when home is not a safe place to be.

Domestic abuse is a range of actions (not just physical) which are an attempt to control and manipulate a partner or ex-partner. We know that neither Coronavirus nor alcohol use cause domestic abuse, but the lockdown situation may make it harder for victims of abuse to escape their abuser and perpetrators may use the crisis to excuse their actions and to increase the level of abuse they inflict.

Research has shown that use of alcohol is linked to the level of violence and abuse perpetrated by an abuser. The likelihood of being a victim of domestic abuse is also higher where one or both partners use alcohol, and many survivors of abuse understandably use alcohol as a coping mechanism to dissociate from what is happening. It is often used to help manage painful and overwhelming feelings of sadness, fear and shame. People who have experienced trauma, particularly during childhood and adolescence, may find it hard to calm themselves down and regulate their emotions. Alcohol can be commonly used to cope with these emotions or to shut them out for a short time.

Alcohol can also be used as a tool by perpetrators to coerce and control a victim. Sudden withdrawal from alcohol can be a serious health risk where domestic abuse is happening, so if you are experiencing coercive control, physical or sexual violence, or financial abuse by a partner or family member and are worried about you or your partner’s drinking, when it is safe to do so, please contact … 

Action for Children - Tel 700218 for under 25yrs, 

Community Drug & Alcohol Team – Tel 725241 Ex. 3530, 

Guernsey Advisory Alcohol Service (adult service) – Tel 723255 or 

In-dependence (adult service) - Tel. 729000.  

All services provide confidential support.

This is a really stressful time for everyone. Many people are coping with children at home, financial pressures and work stress along with concerns about health. These pressures are even more difficult for victims of domestic abuse who may be trapped at home with their abuser and are magnified further if the perpetrator is a heavy alcohol user. For survivors of abuse who are overcoming substance use themselves, it is important to remember that local support is available and to get in touch if they are able.

Andrea Nightingale, the Substance Use Lead for The Health Improvement Commission

Our local domestic abuse service, Safer, is working extremely hard to ensure that those who are experiencing abuse are supported. Safer’s phoneline (01481 721999) is available around the clock, but we recognise that it may be difficult for victims to get in touch by phone, so would urge them to get in touch by email or through their Facebook page if they cannot call the helpline.

Domestic Abuse Strategy Coordinator, Fiona Richmond

Safer email enquiries@safer.gg

Safer Facebook page

In an emergency, always call 999