The Duchess of Cornwall has urged women isolating at home with an abusive partner to seek advice and support from a national helpline if needed.
Camilla, who has spoken out on behalf of the victims of domestic violence in the past, offered the advice in a series of tweets posted on her official Clarence House account.
Her words of support came as a group of women’s organisations announced they had written to hotel chains asking them to make empty rooms available to people seeking shelter, amid a shortage of refuge beds.
The duchess said: “This is a hard time for everyone, as we are all asked to stay at home to stay safe. But for some of you it is even harder, because home is not a safe place.
“I can only imagine that being asked to stay there could feel very isolating and frightening for you and your family. It may mean spending more time with the person who is harming you.
“If this is your situation, or you are worried about someone else, I want you to know that you are not alone.
“Even if you cannot leave your home, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline or contact one of the domestic violence charities. Please stay safe and get help.”
She went on to say that if a woman felt in immediate danger, she should phone 999 and ask for the police.
Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit company that campaigns on gender-related violence, and the cross-party organisation Compassion In Politics have written to hotel chains urging them to open their doors to abuse victims.
The letter said: “While the rooms of your hotel are unoccupied, will you offer a hotel in a publicly undisclosed space, free of charge, to women fleeing a domestic abuser so that they are safe and secure?”
It is backed by the domestic abuse and victims’ commissioners, Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Carolyn Harris, and multiple charities, including Women’s Aid (England and Wales).
Evidence from China, where the Covid-19 outbreak started, suggests rates of domestic abuse have increased threefold, Southall Black Sisters said.
Birmingham Yardley MP Ms Phillips said: “We must work together at this moment of crisis. The coming weeks or months of lockdown and self-isolation leave those in abusive relationships in grave danger.
“Hotels have an opportunity to throw a lifeline to vulnerable women and children, to offer a place of safety, at a time when they need it the most.”