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Unsafe to talk, still contact the police and do this

What do you do if you need to contact the police but it is unsafe for you to talk?

Police have released a reminder to advise people what to do if you find that youdial 999 but cannot let the operator know that you need help.

Silent Solutions is a protocol which decides whether to dispatch police to the thousands of silent calls received every day.

When you dial 999 (or 112) the BT operator will ask you which emergency service you require. If you do not respond at this point, the operator asks you to cough or make some indication that the call is an emergency.

If there is still no response, your call will be put through to an automated system which will ask you to press ‘55’ if your call is an emergency.

In the Express and Echo, Police explain that you must not think just because you dialled 999 that the police will attend, “We totally understand that sometimes people are unable or too afraid to talk, however it must be clear that we will not routinely attend a silent 999 call. There must be some indication that the call has not been mis-dialled.”

In November 2016, a mother whose daughter was murdered by her ex-partner said she felt ‘absolutely let down’ by the police and their Silent Solutions procedure. This led to the Independent Police Complaints Commission calling for a review of the process.

Samantha Lee, director and Head of Family Law at Swain & Co says, “We urge people to take note of this advice as it could save lives and protect you from harm.

Often the potential for harm is demonstrated before a call is needed to the emergency services, and we would like to provide further advice for those facing domestic abuse to protect themselves.”

Domestic abuse does not just mean physical violence, it can be sexual, emotional, psychological or financial abuse too.

At Swain & Co Solicitors we can advise you on a range of options available to you to help protect you from harm. We will be able to advise you of the best course of action for your specific circumstances.

Warning letter

Sometimes, a warning letter to the other person will be sufficient. It can help to show the other person that you will not tolerate the abuse any longer. We can also put forward proposals to help with other issues as well, such as who will live in the property and contact with children.

Injunction - Non-Molestation Order

Unfortunately, sometimes a warning letter does not help or is not appropriate in your situation. In which case, we would then look at making an application to the Court for an injunction (non-molestation order).

A non-molestation order can prevent the other person from:

  • Using or threatening the use of violence against you
  • Pestering, molesting or harassing you
  • Or instructing anyone else to do any of these things

It could specifically provide for the other person not to send text messages or to attempt to communicate with you in any other way.

A breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. Therefore, if it is breached the other person could be sent to prison for up to 5 years.

Emergency applications

Where appropriate, we can apply to the court for an injunction in an emergency. This can mean going to Court that day.

This would also be without telling the other person we were going to Court. This is called ex parte or "without notice".

If the Court feels that an order is needed straight away to protect you, they can make an order that day. It will then be served on the other person, when it will then become effective.

Don’t suffer domestic abuse and violence in silence, there is help available. In domestic abuse cases, we can help you through legal aid too.

Call us on 02392 483322 or email mail@swainandco.com

BUT, if it is an emergency, call 999 and if you are scared or unable to talk, dial 55.

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