New government public warning system and domestic abuse

A new government public warning system, through which alerts are sent to mobile phone users about events that may put their life in danger, has been launched in the UK with a nationwide test alert planned for 23 April 2023.  The Government has confirmed that a UK-wide alerts test will take place in the early evening of Sunday 23 April which will see people across the country receive a test message on their mobile phones.

This could potentially compromise safety of domestic abuse survivors, who may have a secret phone that they may hide from an abusive partner as the alert will “notify all phones with sounds – including when they are on silent”. 

Refuge UK, a domestic abuse charity, have created a guide on how to turn off the alerts for iPhone and Android phones. This guide aims to help those affected by domestic abuse to prevent a secret or secondary phone being detected by an abuser because of the alert. As it can be difficult to know who is affected by domestic abuse, the charity encourages wide sharing of the guide.

Further information about domestic abuse and support services in Essex can be found using the links below:

The Southend, Essex and Thurrock domestic abuse partnership provides advice and information on support services for those affected by domestic abuse.


Available 24hrs a day, trained staff will provide information, advice and guidance and where appropriate, complete an assessment and ensure contact is made with the most appropriate support service so that the right support is provided at the right time. Community services and specialist accommodation such as refuges, IDVA and outreach work will be delivered by SOS Domestic Abuse Projects, Changing Pathways and Next Chapter across areas of Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Southend, Tendring, Thurrock, Uttlesford.

Essex Victims’ Gateway Provides useful information and advice on what to do and how to get help if you have been a victim of crime in Essex and also local service providers for Domestic Abuse Victims.

The Next Chapter 01206 500 585 Provide safe, emergency accommodation for women and children suffering from domestic abuse, as well as offer advice, help and support to safely remain at home if you are not yet ready to leave. Offer services for Braintree, Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford areas.