Live Chat

Together with you, and being led by you, we will work to understand how domestic abuse has affected the different areas of your life and offer you advice and support so that you are safer and can move forwards.

If you need us to, we will advocate on your behalf, supporting you to express your views and your rights ensuring that your voice is heard. This could be with the police, court officials, housing, social services or any other organisation you are dealing with.

We can also help you to access specialist services specific to your religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, disability, mental health or age.

Our Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) are advisors are trained to support anyone experiencing domestic abuse. You may also hear people call them Independent Victim Advocates (IVAs). Advocates provide information, advice and support individually tailored to you and your circumstances.

Our advocates support both women and men (16 years old and over) who are affected by domestic abuse. If you need advice in another language, our IDVAs have access to interpreters or can use a telephone translation service to help you.

Your IDVA will work with you on a safety and support plan that fits your individual circumstances and the risks you are facing. The safety planning process is designed to help reduce any risks of harm.

The process is confidential and designed to minimise the risk of the situation escalating.


There’s a lot of information available about domestic abuse and we know that can be overwhelming. We will be your guide to the information you need and help you make sense of it.


We can help with:

  • mental health support
  • debt and money advice
  • support for children
  • safety planning and assessing risk
  • tech abuse and online harm
  • housing
  • supporting you to deal with police, social services or the courts.

Mental health support

Mental health is a high risk factor in domestic abuse. It’s extremely common to experience anxiety, depression and other mental health issues as a result of domestic abuse. Mental health can leave you more vulnerable to abuse and/ or exploitation. We work with specialist mental health organisations to help you get the support you need.

Debt and money advice

Financial abuse is another risk factor in domestic abuse. If the abuse you’ve experienced has caused you to be in debt, or control over your finances has been taken away from you, then we can offer advice and put you in touch with experts to help you. If you don’t have control of your own finances, we can help you take back control.

Support for your children

If you have children, we understand that you may be worried about the impact of the abuse on them. We have a service designed specifically for children and young people (CYP) with specialist trained children’s advocates who can work with your children help them understand what has happened. We will also support them to cope and move forwards.

Family courts, social services and other contact and formal arrangements for your children can be daunting. We can give you practical help with forms and administration. We will also support you to speak with your social worker.

Your safety

Keeping you safe is a priority, whether you have left, intend to leave or plan to remain in your home. We will give you advice on how to protect yourself and what to do in an emergency.

If you’re thinking about leaving your abuser we can help you plan so that you can leave as safely as possible.

It’s very important to keep your plans to leave from your abuser. If abusers find out about plans to leave, it’s possible that the abuse will get worse. In many cases, it will put your safety at risk.

You may feel that confronting your abuser or threatening to leave them will stop the abuse. We understand the reasons for doing this but in many cases as abuse is linked to control the risk actually increases.

It’s also important to remember that the abuse may not end when you leave. This is why we encourage you to get help and support to leave safely.

Emotional support

Our advocates are specially trained to give the right advice and support for your individual situation. This could be as simple as having someone to talk to in confidence who understands what you’re going through. We will offer the right conditions in order for you to work out your best plan of action. We understand domestic abuse is a complex process and will not judge you if now is not the right time to leave. We want to help you understand your options, what support is available and how best to manage the situation.

Your rights

We know your rights and we can help you to:

  • understand your rights in different areas
  • understand what each organisation is responsible for
  • express your views and stand up for your rights
  • address any barriers to receiving the help that you may be entitled to
  • complain if you haven’t been provided with an appropriate response or service.

Housing support

We know how difficult it can be to access housing in London. If you’ve experienced domestic abuse you have specific rights that include access to emergency housing. We work with specialist housing organisations to make sure you get the advice you need.

Help for children

You may be trying to deal with social services, the Family Court, CAFCASS and other organisations at the same time. This can be confusing and overwhelming for anyone. Our advocates are a bridge who have the experience to help you protect your children from harm and stand up for you and your children’s rights. They can also help you with understanding processes and completing forms and administration.


If your immigration status could be affected by leaving your partner, or if you have no recourse to public funds due to your immigration status, this leaves you vulnerable to harm and exploitation and you will need urgent advice and support. We work with interpreters and can introduce you to specialist organisations to make sure you get the help you need. Your immigration status may not be a barrier to receiving help for domestic abuse – we can help inform and empower you.

Debt, benefit and money advice

It’s common for domestic abuse to cause financial difficulties. Whether your finances have been controlled by someone else, or you’ve found yourself in debt, you’re not alone.

We can give you information on:

  • budgeting
  • claiming benefits
  • how to decide who to pay when there isn’t enough money to go around
  • Supporting you with informing banks, credit organisations and other financial bodies that you have been the victim of financial abuse.

If you need extra support, we can introduce you to specialist financial abuse organisations we work with.

Court support

Going to court can be daunting, especially for the first time. We offer pre-trial support that includes an in-person or virtual visit to the court to help you understand and familiarise yourself with what to expect.  We can assist with requesting special measures such as a separate entrance and screen or remote video link during the trial. We will liaise with the police, court and witness care unit and talk you through what to expect and how to prepare. If you have different options to consider, we can help you to decide what’s best for your individual circumstances.

Reporting to the police

LVWS is independent and impartial. We can support you to:

  • report your domestic abuse to the police
  • liaise with the officer in charge of your case for updates
  • understand if you have been treated fairly
  • complain to the police if they have not followed The Victims Code.

Sexual violence

If your abuser has subjected you to sexual violence, we can offer information and support and introduce you to organisations that can offer the specialist support you need.

Sexual violence is any kind of sexual activity or act that took place without consent.

If this has happened to you, the first thing you need to know is that it is not your fault. You are in no way to blame. The only person to blame is the person that did this to you.


This means agreeing to something by choice, with the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

You have not given consent if:

  • you were asleep
  • you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • you were pressured, manipulated or scared when you said yes
  • you were too young or vulnerable to make an informed choice.

Reporting sexual violence to the police

It is your decision whether to report a crime and we will support and sign post you whatever you decide. If you experienced sexual violence recently or in the past, it doesn’t matter how long ago, we can offer advice and sign posting to a specialist organisation.

If you were raped or sexually assaulted within the past seven days, you can be examined to help collect evidence. The evidence can be used to identify and prosecute the person who did this to you.

The examination will happen at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). We can help you find your nearest centre, or you can use your postcode to find a centre.

Evidence will be stronger if you avoid washing your clothes or having a shower. We do understand that may have already happened by the time you read this. Don’t let that put you off reporting the crime to the police. Some evidence will remain and can still be collected.

How we can help

It’s important that you get the right support if you’ve experienced rape or sexual assault. We can introduce you to organisations that specialise in sexual violence if you want us to.

Choosing support is your decision and we will only do what you are comfortable with. Every situation is different. We will always listen to your wishes and needs.

If you have experienced sexual violence, you will need to contact London Survivors Gateway. This is a hub for sexual violence support services. They can help you to find the right support for what has happened to you.

Find support near you