Police and women’s charities are reminding victims of domestic abuse that there is a silent way of seeking help.
A video, originally created in March, circulated on Twitter as lockdowns across the world left victims trapped with their abusers and increased incidents of violence
The footage explains what to do if you need help, but do not want to alert your abuser.
As shown in the clip, in the UK, vulnerable people should dial 999 and stay silent, then by dialling 55 you can alert the police that you are in a situation where making a noise will put you at more risk.
Then the emergency services will attempt to locate you.
This is called the Silent Solution.
While this is an extremely useful service to those who need it, it’s important to note that dialling 55 does not mean the police will track your phone and arrive at your location.
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But it does let police know you are in an emergency that keeps you from talking, and they will do everything they can to determine your location so they can deploy officers to you.
Here is what you should do when using the silent solution service, according to information from Thames Valley Police.
When you call 999 the BT operator will ask which service you need: Fire, Police or Ambulance.
The call handler will listen for background noises, coughs, taps on the phone or pressing 55.
However, if no requests are made and the BT operator believes the call needs to go through to an emergency service, it will always go to the police.
You will hear an automated 20 seconds police message, which begins with ‘you are through to the police’.
It will ask you to press 55, tap or make a noise, the BT operator will put you through to police call management. But if you don’t do any of the above, the call may be terminated after 45 seconds.
If you manage to dial 55 or tap, then a police call handler will announce that you are through to the police.
If you can’t speak, you will be asked to tap the phone, make a noise or press 55.
They ask a number of questions and work out a way you can communicate, without having to speak.
For example, yes and no questions can be asked by the call handler and answered using one keypad press for yes and two for no.
Police advise that if you can say anything the best thing to do is say your location.
While police can estimate your whereabouts if you call from a mobile, it is not specific enough to locate someone.
An initial survivor survey carried out by Women’s Aid in April 2020, confirmed that Covid-19 had quickly impacted on the experiences of women experiencing domestic abuse.
It found 67.4% of survivors who are currently experiencing abuse told us that it had got worse since Covid-19
Also 76.1% told us they are having to spend more time with their abuser.