The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 defines domestic violence as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.’
Domestic abuse is any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse:
- between people aged over 16
- who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members
and can involve
- Physical: being hit
- Sexual: rape, sexual assault, degrading treatment
- Financial: having money withheld or being forbidden from getting a job
- Social: not being allowed to see friends and family or go out
- Psychological: constantly telling someone they are worthless and so reducing their self-esteem and confidence
- Emotional: telling a person their children will be taken from them if they leave or that no one else will love them
It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity, and can begin at any stage of the relationship.
Domestic abuse can also include forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.
It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:
- puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
- controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family
- is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
- frightens you
Domestic abuse and safeguarding children
Children who live in families where there is domestic abuse can suffer serious long-term emotional and psychological effects. Even if they are not physically harmed or do not witness acts of violence, they can pick up on the tensions and harmful interactions between adults.
Children will learn their behaviour from examples set by other people around them and exposure to domestic abuse teaches children negative things about people and their relationships. For instance:
- It teaches them that violence is acceptable and that they can use it
- They learn how to keep secrets
- They learn to mistrust those close to them
Being exposed to domestic violence can have a long-lasting effect on children which could affect their ability to form relationships in the future, including:
- Blaming themselves for the violence
- Feeling frightened
- Becoming withdrawn
- Running away
- Behavioural difficulties
- Problems with school
- Poor concentration
- Emotional turmoil
- Lack of respect
- Loss of self-confidence
Who to contact
POLICE: 101 or in an emergency 999
Services Available to Lewisham Residents
Refuge, The Athena Service
The Athena service, run by Refuge provides confidential, non-judgmental support to those living in the London Borough of Lewisham who are experiencing gender-based violence. It opened its doors in April 2015 and provides outreach programmes, independent advocacy, group support, refuge accommodation and a specialist service for young women.
It provides the following services, all under one roof:
- One-to-one confidential, non-judgmental, independent support
- A specialist independent gender-based violence advocacy (IGVA) team to support clients at risk of serious harm
- A specialist service for 13-19 year-old girls
- Group support
- A peer support scheme to help break isolation; build social networks and provide support clients regain control of their lives
- Volunteering opportunities
Telephone: Athena Service on 0800 112 4052
African Advocacy Foundation
A community-led organisation working to promote better access to health, education and other opportunities for disadvantaged communities in the UK, Europe and parts of Africa.
African Advocacy provide practical support, policy work, advocacy, information, guidance and training to professionals and community members alike. African advocacy work to empower individuals and families experiencing multiple disadvantages and barriers including ill health, poverty, deprivation, violence, isolation and those relating to language, culture, faith and other social issues.
CATFORD (MAIN) OFFICES:
76 Elmer Road, Catford, London SE6 2ER
0208 698 4473
The purpose is to equip girls and young women with the right support, skills and confidence to make informed choices about their future; improve their educational, social and economic outcomes whilst taking control of their lives.
The Albany, Deptford, SE8 4AQ
0203 372 5779
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
LAWRS has a zero tolerance policy of any form of Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG). Our team offers advice, advocacy and practical support to Latin American women who are experiencing or have experienced Domestic Violence, Harmful practices or any other form of violence.
Tindlemanor, 52-54 Featherstone Street.
London, EC1Y 8RT
020 7336 0888, 084 4264 0682
IKWRO – Women’s Rights Organisation
IKWRO are committed to providing non-judgmental support to women who speak Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Dari, Pashtu and English.
IKWRO – Women’s Rights Organisation
PO Box 75229
0207 920 6460
Women and Girls Network (WGN)
WGN is a free, women-only service providing a holistic response to women and girls who have experienced, or are at risk of, gendered violence.
0808 801 0660
WE Women (Women Empowering Women)
We Women is a collaboration of women which has been delivering community support to women since March 2017. In August 2018, we women became a constituted community group.
We Women are entirely volunteer run, and our aims are to:
- Empower women to be more self-sufficient
- Improve women’s health & well-being
- Address the material impacts of poverty within the local community
Pepys Resource Centre Old Library Deptford Strand London
020 8691 3146
Early Years Alliance - Lewisham Children's and Family Centres
The Alliance is working together with Clyde Nursery School, Beecroft Garden School and Kelvin Grove/Eliot Bank and Downderry Children’s Centres to deliver a clear seamless borough wide children’s centre offer for families in the London Borough of Lewisham, working alongside health visiting, midwifery, schools and public health services.
Lewisham Children and Family Centres offer families access to a range of health, education, play, parenting, adult education, employment support and family support services right across the borough.
National Stalking Helpline – Suzy Lamplugh Trust
The National Stalking Helpline is run by Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Their mission is to reduce the risk of violence and aggression through campaigning, education and support.
Telephone: 0808 802 0300
METRO is a leading equality and diversity charity providing health, community and youth services across London and the south-east, with some national and international projects. METRO promotes health, wellbeing and equality through youth services, mental health services and sexual health and HIV services and works with anyone experiencing issues related to gender, sexuality, diversity or identity.
Location: 141 GREENWICH HIGH ROAD, GREENWICH, SE10 8JA
Telephone: 020 8305 5000
RASASC - Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre Rape Crisis South London
RASAC believe too many women have had to be silent for too long about the violence perpetrated against them.
They understand that it can be difficult to speak up, hard to find the words or to believe that anyone will listen.
RASAC will listen. They believe. They will stand up alongside you. You do not have to do this alone.
Telephone: 0808 802 9999
PO BOX 383, Croydon, CR9 2AW
Information and campaigning for LGBT rights. Got a question? A problem? Need support? Stone wall are here to help with any issues affecting LGBT people or their families. Whatever your situation, you’re not on your own. Stonewall will do what they can to help or point you in the right direction to someone who can.
Telephone: 0800 0502020
Write to Stonewall: Stonewall 192 St. John Street London EC1V 4JY
Men and women working together to end domestic violence
Telephone: 0808 802 4040
Address: The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
The Deaf Health Charity – Sign Health
Rights of women
Respect Helpline for men
Women's Aid live chat
This is an online chatting service which is ideal for victims who are self-isolating and do not want to be heard.
0117 944 44 11
NSPCC Helpline - 0800 028 3550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GALOP National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428