Domestic abuse victims warned to turn off phones to avoid emergency alert this weekend
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Featured Image Credit: UK Government / Pexels
Domestic abuse victims have been warned to turn off their phones to avoid the emergency alert across the UK this weekend.
On Sunday, 23 April at 3pm, most people in the UK will notice an alert on their phone as part of a test for a new emergency warning system.
Regardless of whether your phone is on silent or not, the device will emit a loud sound along with a message telling you the test is in effect and there isn’t a disaster unfolding.
Other countries have set up similar warning systems for emergencies such as weather, geological, medical emergencies, warfare and acts of terrorism.
Ahead of the warning test on Sunday, domestic abuse charities have said there is a ‘very real risk’ to people who live with an abusive partner.
Charities are concerned because domestic abuse victims might have a secret or secondary phone which could be discovered if it is left on during the test.
The government has issued guidance after consulting with domestic abuse charities to let people know that their phone shouldn’t get the alert on Sunday if their phone is switched off.
To avoid alerting an abusive partner to or individual in the household about the whereabouts of a hidden gadget, the government has said people should follow the advice of domestic abuse charity Refuge and keep their secret phones turned off and hidden.
Putting the phone on silent will not prevent it from getting the alert and it is best to turn it off completely.
An Instagram post shared by Refuge said: “The new #EmergencyAlert system will be tested later this month (23 April). If you’re a survivor of #DomesticAbuse with a secret or secondary phone, this test and any future alerts could reveal your phone - even if it’s on silent.
“Our tech safety team have created a guide on how you can turn these alerts off – link in bio to watch a demonstration.
Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding also posted important information for domestic abuse victims and urged people to share the information on their own social media channels.
Writing on Instagram, the post reads: “If you're living with domestic abuse and you have a mobile phone hidden in your house ‘just in case?’ Please remember to switch it off on Sunday 23 April 2023.”