Domestic abuse is defined as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, co-ercive, 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:
Domestic abuse can also include forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.
Controlling and coercive behaviour
Domestic abuse is often thought of as physical, such as hitting, slapping or beating, but it can also be controlling or coercive behaviour. This is important as what might look like an isolated incident of violent abuse could be taking place in a context of controlling or coercive behaviour.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or independent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
We know that the first incident reported to the police or other agencies is rarely the first incident to occur; often people have been subject to violence and abuse on multiple occasions before they seek help.
Safeguarding children exposed to domestic abuse
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 of any age are affected by domestic violence and abuse. At no age will they be unaffected by what is happening, even when they are in the womb.
The physical, psychological and emotional effects of domestic violence on children can be severe and long-lasting. Some children may become withdrawn and find it difficult to communicate. Others may act out the aggression they have witnessed, or blame themselves for the abuse. All children living with abuse are under stress.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
GALOP National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline