Emergency Alert Test Poses Risk To Victims And Survivors Of Domestic Abuse


Kara Swift, a Senior Associate at FLiP, warns of the risk the emergency alert test on Sunday 23rd April 2023 at 3pm poses for victims and survivors of domestic abuse with hidden phones/devices. Kara provides advice to those who might be affected.  

The UK Government are testing an emergency alert service at 3pm on Sunday 23 April 2023 which will cause certain mobile phones and tablets to sound a loud siren-like alarm even if the devices are set to silent.  Devices will also vibrate and read aloud the alert with the siren lasting for around 10 seconds. This will happen even if the device is not connected to mobile data or wifi.

The emergency alert will sound on the following devices with 4G or 5G networks in the UK:

  • iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later; and
  • Android phones and tablets running Android 11 or later

You will not receive alerts if your device is:

  • Turned off or on airplane mode;
  • Connected to a 2G or 3G network;
  • On wifi only;
  • Not one of the compatible devices listed above.

To check, search your device settings for ‘emergency alerts’.

For victims and survivors of domestic abuse with hidden phones/devices the sounding of the alarm could pose a risk. Those who need their devices to remain concealed should opt out of the system or should turn the device off ahead of 3pm on Sunday.

To opt out of the alerts, search in the settings for ‘emergency alerts’ and turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’.  Refuge have also created a video on how to disable the alert:


The UK Government has said that it has been working with organisations who focus on vulnerable women and girls to ensure they are not adversely affected by the alert.

Please share this note with anyone who might need to keep a device concealed for their safety.

For more information on how Family Law in Partnership can help you if you are faced with domestic abuse, please visit our website page Abuse in Relationships or contact one of our specialist lawyers.