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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information in British Sign Language is updated DAILY with the PM talks and other useful information.  Please find and share this information so everyone knows what is happening in the UK and how it affects us all: www.signhealth.org.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus Response

During this unprecedented period, our Domestic Abuse Service is continuing to provide support remotely, through WhatsApp/Facetime, email or by text.

We are also expanding our support beyond London and the South East to accept referrals for Deaf people throughout England.

Our service is open and providing ongoing support

The SignHealth Domestic Abuse Service is still accepting referrals and our staff are working remotely.  We are continuing to support new and current clients via video calls (e.g. FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp) and SMS/instant messaging.  Where a referral is URGENT, we are following individual risk assessments on how to handle each individual case to ensure that the client is safe and fully supported.

Contact details:
  • Text the number 88802 with the message 121SIGN
  • Email – da@signhealth.org.uk (regularly monitored)
  • Telephone – 0203 947 2600 (all calls to the Domestic Abuse Team are being redirected – if unable to get through then please email the service)
  • Text – 07970 350366

Our contingency plan of how the service is still being run during this pandemic

Critical Tasks (which we will continue to deliver)
  1. All staff to be on a rota to be covering the SMS mobile to respond to any requests.
  2. We will continue to send referrals to professionals and screening of referrals for Deaf adults and young people at risk of harm due to domestic abuse. (Referrals can be received by SMS (text), email, phone or self-referral)
  3. We will continue to provide risk assessment, advice / safety planning / support / advocacy of deaf people at risk of harm due domestic abuse. All of this will be completed remotely. If it need to be face to face, staff will speak to senior management for advice and will need to complete risk assessment.
  4. We will continue to liaise with partner agencies to reduce risk of domestic abuse. This will be done remotely (email or phone).
Contingency Planning

Contingency planning has already been put in place. The service is being run with Senior IDVA / YPVA and the service manager will be available if needed. Staff will be working from home as SignHealth Head Office is closed.

Contingency Planning for MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

IDVA will continue to attend MARAC remotely by phone call or video call, where possible.

Safety planning with clients – General Advice
  • In the case of an emergency please continue to call or SMS 999. Make sure all are registered with 999.
  • The service is open Monday-Friday 9-5pm.
  • If you are not scared you are in danger now but want to report to the police then can call 101, text phone 18001 101.
  • Don’t confront the abuser about their behaviour / choices.
  • Communicate with your friends or family when you can.
  • Set up a safe word you can text message with friends/neighbours if they hear you shouting or loud noises – you can send a coded text e.g. safe word is ‘goldfish’ and you text ‘can you feed the goldfish tomorrow’ – so now they know to call the Police.
  • Create a safety plan with your children about where to go if argument starts or where to go that is safe e.g. to their bedrooms or bathroom.
  • Ensure that all sharp objects/are generally kept out of sight, for example all knives to be kept in a drawer.

DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE POLICE ON 999 IF YOU ARE IN DANGER

If you are looking for educational resources or want to learn more about Domestic Abuse in BSL – such as Coercion, Honor Based Abuse, FGM, Sexting, Consent etc. – please search our video library for a wealth of accessible information to use and share.