A CHARITY has told domestic abuse victims it’s okay to leave your home to save lives or prevent injury.

Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) has issued guidelines for people who are facing at least three weeks confined to the same building as their abuser.

The charity fears abuse will increase as couples and families face increasing uncertainty, financial pressure and cramped conditions.

It is determined to keep its safe houses and helplines running. It will also provide help online, via WhatsApp messaging, social media and email.

As the national lockdown began, a North Yorkshire spokesman said: “At the end of the day, if you are at risk of being hurt, seriously harmed or murdered, you should get out of the house.

“Nobody will stop you leaving the house to save yourself or your children.”

The charity is advising domestic abuse victims to make plans, including identifying a safe place within their house and from which they can get out of the house if necessary, and planning where they will go for help.

It advises them to set up or use their friends and neighbours’ networks to arrange signals or messages that will warn other people that they are in trouble without warning their abusers.

They can take their exercise at regular times so that if they fail to do it one day, their neighbours or friends will notice and sound the alarm.

The charity is urging friends and neighbours of people at risk of abuse to check them regularly, help them set up signals or messages, and call the police if they have concerns.

Sarah Hill, IDAS’s chief executive officer said, “Many people who face controlling, violent or abusive behaviour from a partner or family member are likely to be feeling very scared about being isolated with them for long periods of time.

“We want them to know that there is support available.”