A STEP BY STEP GUIDE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN UNSAFE HOMES DURING COVID- 19
It’s a weird and odd time for all of us – but at EdShift we’re really concerned about those living with domestic violence. Our worry is that because of lockdown, you are more likely to see and/or hear emotional, financial, sexual or physical harm.
Unfortunately, because of the unique situation we currently face we must respond digitally, so we created this step by step guide to help keep you physically, mentally and emotionally safe.
You are the boss of your domain
If your home is an unsafe place and has been for some time it’s important to remember that you know your home and family more than anyone, so only take advice that feels safe to you.
This guide has been designed to give you some tips to help keep you safe and not place you at further risk of harm.
Always remember, anything that you see or hear is not your fault.
Thinking Out Loud!
Self-isolation means different things across the world but what it really means is only leaving home when you need to. This could mean that you are more likely to be in the same space when physical or emotional harm is happening, increasing the risk of you seeing something that makes you upset or worse getting harmed in the crossfire.
I Trust My Body
It’s important to trust your own instincts. Instinct is your body’s natural algorithm designed to check out the safety of your surroundings. In a dangerous situation your body is your BFF, packed with an in-built mechanism to protect you. How sick is that? It sends you messages when you’re in danger. Think of your body as the latest iPhone sending your brain texts every time it senses a red flag.
A good tip is to start recognising where in the body changes take place. For example:
- My heart is beating faster
- My tummy has butterflies
- My eyesight is fuzzy
- My mouth feels dry
- My body is tense
- My hands feel sweaty
- My hearing is more sensitive
When your body sends you signs, read them, take note. When it comes to loyalty your body is the slickest, fastest and most powerful ally, listen to it. It is built to protect you.
Do you have a SAFE SPACE in your house? A SAFE SPACE is where you feel free from harm. It’s a place where you can chill and read, watch a movie, listen to music or call a friend.
If you haven’t got a SAFE SPACE think of somewhere in the house that you can make your SAFE SPACE. Put a book there, one that makes you feel happy or some paper, pens and pencils, a favourite teddy or pillow – you’re never too young or old to have a favourite teddy! This will help you when you need to remove yourself from a red flag situation.
If you ever find yourself in an unsafe situation at home, we have designed a REMOVE plan to follow so you can leave safely and get to your SAFE SPACE.
R – ‘RAISED HEARTBEAT’ (Is a red flag – start your REMOVE plan)
E – ‘EXIT’ ( Explore the room to find a safe exit – if the exit is blocked find somewhere safe in the space where you can still see the exit, that way you can leave once it becomes unblocked.)
M – ‘MEASURE (The distance between where you are and the exit and what you might need to do to get there, S.A.F.E )
O – OPPORTUNITY – (Make your move and leave the space safely)
V – VACATE (to SAFE SPACE)
E – EXHALE (Breath in and out until you feel calmer)
Circle Of Trust
Support from family or a friend you trust can help you make sense of things and reassure you. Your head might feel messed up and you find it hard to think straight, talking things through can help tidy things up. FaceTime or call someone, talk to them about your feelings or maybe you don’t want to get that deep and just talking about every day stuff helps to chill you out. If you can’t do this, drawing or writing things down can help to make sense of things.
You are important and you matter.
Living in a space where there is conflict can make us feel alone, angry, sad, confused, worthless and scared. It’s ok to feel like this and you are not wrong or weird for feeling lots of different emotions. Now is a good time to start building the relationship you have with yourself. This might sound strange but Self Love is the best kind of love and as humans it is the one love we can count on when we’re struggling.
Write a list of ways in which we can show Self Love
We’ve started a list to help but there are so many ways to remind ourselves how much we value being who we are, especially when are living in an environment that may stop us from feeling the best we can.
When someone lives in an unpredictable environment keeping to a routine can help make you feel more in control. Making time to do things that you love and enjoy will also support your mental health and wellbeing. It may not always feel like it, but you are brave, awesome and not alone.
You can visit our website where you can find other interactive resources, links to our EdShift Youth Podcast and EdShift Youth YouTube Channel. We are here to offer advice and guidance where needed, however if you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.