Press Release

27 March 2020

Refuge responds to reports of potential increase in domestic abuse during COVID-19

Refuge responds to reports of potential increase in domestic abuse during periods of lockdown and issues survivors guide.

In response to reports about potential increase in domestic abuse across the country during periods of isolation, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of National Domestic Abuse charity Refuge said:

“Refuge is concerned about the potential for incidents of domestic abuse to increase during periods of lockdown. We know that ordinarily the window of opportunity for women with abusive partners to make a call and seek help is often very limited. Now, it is likely that window has become even smaller. With this in mind, we have today issued an online guide for survivors.

Refuge has undertaken a huge technology operation over the past eight days to move the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, ordinarily run from a cyber secure office environment, to remote locations. We have achieved this through much hard work and our expert team has been able to continue its life-saving work whilst adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions on movement.

We want to reassure women that our Helpline is continuing to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that it is free, and confidential.

Domestic abuse is much more than physical violence and we want all women who are experiencing any form of abuse – whether that is physical, technological, economic, sexual, or coercive control – to know we are here. Our message is simple: help exists, you are not alone.

Any woman experiencing abuse should call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247. If you are unable to call, then you can visit and fill in an online form, requesting a safe time to be called back. This online method of accessing support is especially important now when telephoning for help may be more difficult.

Women can also receive automated guidance via our chatbot on how to secure their devices

In an emergency, call 999.

If you are worried about a neighbour, friend or relative please make sure they know the number for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge. Our life-saving service is here 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is entirely free to access”

Refuge has a guide for survivors, which is online here.

Spokespeople available on request. Please contact the press office on 0207 395 7731 or email