Domestic abuse

Help for people experiencing domestic abuse in London

We can help anyone affected by crime in London whether it's present or historic. Our service is free, confidential and available 24/7 for as long as you need. There are a number of ways you can contact us to get support or information.

Supportline

If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse in London and you need confidential support, you can call our 24/7 Supportline line for free on 0808 168 9291.

One of our trained team will answer the phone and ask you a series of questions to understand the type of support you need and if there is any risk to your safety. They’ll offer immediate help and assistance and may refer you to a caseworker based in your area, who will be able to support you further. If you’d benefit from one of our caseworkers, they’ll make contact with you within 24 hours.

Live Chat

Live chat is a free service available for people affected by crime, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. To start a live chat with one of our trained supporters, select the 'Chat now' button. 

My Support Space

My Support Space is an online resource designed to help you manage the impact that crime has had on you. It contains guides that are designed to be completed in your own time and at your own pace. You can save your progress and revisit where you left off at any time. You can find information about where and how you can access further support.

999

The London Victim and Witness Service provides support to help people cope and recover after crime, but it’s important to know that we’re not an emergency service. If you’re in immediate danger, call 999. 

  • The “Silent Solutions” protocol allows you to dial 999 and remain silent if it’s not safe for you to talk. The operator will put you through to an automated system, and if you then press 55, the police will be dispatched to your location.

It's important to remember that the abuse is not your fault. The perpetrator of the abuse is responsible. However, we can empower you to take back control of your life and look at the best ways to support you to increase your safety and the safety of your children. We are here to listen, we won't judge you or tell you what to do, together we can explore your options and we will support you to make any decisions about the future. 

Victim support employs a team of highly trained Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and Independent Victim Advocates (IVAs) who support women and men affected by domestic abuse. Our telephone and face-to-face support is available in a range of languages through language line and interpreters. We also offer support if you are experiencing abuse and also have insecure immigration status or No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

The IDVA or IVA will conduct a risk assessment with you at the beginning of support to understand the current risks you are facing, which will then inform your individualised safety and support plan.

Our teams will provide information, advocacy and support with a broad range of issues which relate to domestic abuse, such as:

  • Ongoing safety concerns 
  • Emotional support
  • Housing support
  • Safe separation plans
  • Help around child contact 
  • Your rights
  • Immigration
  • Benefits and finance support
  • Cour support
  • Criminal and civil legal options 
  • Reporting to the police
  • Advocacy with services such as police and social services

The London Victim and Witness Service will provide a holistic approach to support. This means that the IDVA or IVA will work with you to identify in what way the abuse has impacted your life, and will support you to make positive change. For example:

 

  • If the abuse has led you to have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, we will support you to work on this by referring you, and advocating for you, with mental health services
  • If the abuse has resulted in you having debt or if you’re unable to access your own finances we will refer you to the appropriate agencies, as well as provide useful methods to take back control of your finances
  • If you are worried about how the abuse has impacted on your children, we can offer Victim Support’s children and young persons’ service, as well as provide practical advice on child arrangement orders post separation.
  • If your family is currently open to children’s social services, we will advocate for you and be your voice in the process

This isn’t an exhaustive list of support that we provide, and acts more as an example of the wrap-around support that we provide. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how we can help you.

Every survivor is the expert in their relationship - and we do not try to tell our clients otherwise. You will have coping strategies that you have developed during the relationship to minimise the abuse. 

However, there may come a time when the only option for yours and your children's safety is to leave. It is essential that you do not tell your abuser of your plans to leave, sometimes abusers will increase their abuse, and even take extreme measures, if they know you are planning to leave. 

  • Plan safe exit routes from your home
  • Think about where you may go that the abuser won't find you, or where you'll feel safe
  • Think about neighbours you can trust to talk about your situation with, have them call 999 if they hear an argument
  • Try to keep money on you at all times in case you need to flee
  • Keep your charged mobile phone on you at all times
  • If safe to do so, you can pack essential documents and items such as: passports, clothes, birth certificates, bank cards at a safe friends or family member's house so you can access these once you've fled.
  • Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency if they are old enough to do so
  • Plan how you would leave, would it be by car, public transport - think about what is available to you and what is the safest
  • Plan to leave at a time your abuser won't be home
  • If you fear an attack, move to a low risk area of the home, away from any knives or weapons
  • If you would rather remain in your home, you can call 999 and have the police remove the abuser from your home when you report the abuse
  • We can explain how to obtain emergency non-molestation orders and occupation orders to you to ensure the abuser remains out of the home

The UK government's definition of domestic violence is 'any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening  behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional.

Domestic abuse can take place anywhere - not just in the home. This can include online abuse or by phone/message. It can have a devastating effect on people's lives - we're here to help you to cope and move on, when you're ready. 

There are many recognised forms of domestic abuse. These include:

  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Isolation
  • Threatening behaviour 
  • Economic and financial abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • False allegations
  • Stalking and harrasment
  • Digital abuse or abuse via social media
  • Coercive control

Signs of domestic abuse are often overlooked, as abusive behaviour often escalates gradually over time. Abusers may be charming and well-liked by most of the people who know them, but at home things are completely different. If you think your relationship is abusive, you should look at how the behaviour of your partner or family member makes you feel. If you feel intimidated, controlled or unable to speak out, that's abuse.

Here are some common signs that you relationship may be unhealthy or abusive: 

  • Your partner criticised you and makes you doubt yourself.
  • You feel uncomfortable or anxious while they're around
  • You feel like you're walking on eggshells and, this makes you change your behaviour (like staying in more) to avoid arguments with them.
  • When they're angry, you feel intimidated and scared. Their behaviour is often unpredictable or aggressive.
  • You're made to feel guilty and not given the freedom to do things you want to do. Your partner might control you by telling you who you can and can't see, or emotionally blackmail you.
  • They monitor or track your movements or messages.
  • They use anger and intimidation to frighten and control you.
  • They're jealous and possessive.
  • They're charming one minute and abusive the next.
  • They often tell you what to wear, where to go, who to see.
  • They control your money.
  • They pressure you to have sex when you don't want to.

 


If you're experiencing domestic abuse in London, get in touch. Call 0808 168 9291 any time or start a live chat. 

Our services are free and confidential. If you're experiencing domestic abuse and live outside of London, please contact our free Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111.

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