Domestic Abuse

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During the current COVID-19 lockdown it is even more difficult for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to seek help, especially if they live with their abusers. Southwark Council's domestic abuse service is still available for support at this time. A list of additional resources which may be helpful during this period is available on the Southwark Council website.

Domestic abuse and how to get help

According to research, one in four women and one in six men in the UK will be the victims of domestic abuse during their lifetime. Domestic abuse can affect people of any age, including older people.  

On average, two women in England and Wales are killed every week by a current or former male partner.

Domestic abuse can be:

  • physical- when someone uses violence against you
  • emotional - such as name calling, stalking, blackmailing or using your children against you
  • sexual - such as forcing you to have intimate physical contact
  • financial - such as controlling your access to money, how you spend your money or not allowing you to get a job

Controlling and coercive behaviour is now a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Controlling behaviour includes:

  • isolating you from others
  • financial abuse
  • making you feel worthless
  • controlling who you see and what you wear
  • monitoring your time

Southwark Council’s #oktotalk video highlights the early alarm bells we all need to be aware of to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Please watch and share.

It's important to remember that you're not to blame for any kind of abuse and there's help available to make you and your children safe and to get your life back on track.

How to get help

If you are in immediate danger, always call the police on 999.

If you're a victim of any kind of domestic abuse, there are services that can help.Talk to our domestic abuse support provider in confidence at Solace by calling 020 7593 1290, emailing or by visiting their website. Solace provide assistance for anybody experiencing domestic abuse regardless of whether you’re male or female or your sexual orientation. They offer a wide range of services including legal advice, counselling for adults and children, support groups and assistance with housing. You can access this service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Refuge have launched a new digital platform providing support to women experiencing domestic abuse. This can be accessed at

If you're worried about your own behaviour, or that of someone you know, Solace also provides support and guidance to help you change. Please get in touch using the contact details above.If you're aged 11 to 25, YUVA supports those concerned about their own behaviour as well as those experiencing abuse. To contact the team, email or call 020 8222 8281.

Leaving home

If it becomes too dangerous to remain in your home, there are options available to you.Call Southwark Advocacy and Support Services (SASS) on 0207 593 1290 for further information and advice.If you're a Southwark tenant, you can also contact your Resident Services Officer. We may be able to help provide you with accommodation in or out of the borough - call 020 7525 5950 for more advice.

Victim Support have partnered with NACRO and Shelter to provide crisis accommodation for male victims of domestic abuse. For advice and support you can call the London Victim and Witness Service on 0808 168 9291. The referral form can be downloaded here.

Staying in your home

We operate a sanctuary scheme for victims of domestic abuse and violence who wish to stay in their own home. The sanctuary scheme provides increased security for the victim in their home. This includes strengthened doors, locks, window frames and fire resistance measures.
Access to the sanctuary scheme is through a risk assessment of the victim's circumstances.
Call SASS for further information on 020 7593 1290.

Clare's Law (The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme)

The scheme recognises two procedures for disclosing information:

  1. "Right to ask" is triggered by a member of the public applying to the police for a disclosure.
  2. "Right to know is triggered by the police making a proactive decision to disclose information to protect a potential victim.

The person at risk can make a disclosure application online here. A family member or friend can also make an application on their behalf, but the information will only be disclosed to the person at risk, and the person at risk will not be told who made the application.

Advice on using this section safely

If you're worried about people knowing your browsing history, go to the Solace website, where you will find further information and guidance on how to cover your tracks.

If you want to be completely sure that you're not being tracked online, the safest way is to access the internet at a local library, a friend's house or at work.

If you're using this section and you're worried about someone seeing what you're looking at online, use the links which take you directly to the BBC homepage.

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The Women's Safety Charter

The Women's Safety Charter was developed with venues in the borough. The charter is based on a number of key principles which ensure that all staff working at licensed premises act in a responsible and supportive manner, taking all reports seriously. Click here for more information, and to sign up to the charter.

IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety)

IRIS  is a domestic violence and abuse training support and referral programme for GP surgeries. NHS Southwark CCG and Southwark Council have jointly commissioned and funded this programme in Southwark.

Core areas of the programme are:

  • training and education
  • clinical enquiry
  • care pathways 
  • an enhanced referral pathway to specialist domestic violence services

IRIS is aimed at women who are experiencing DVA from a current partner, ex-partner or adult family member. IRIS also provides information and signposting for male victims and for perpetrators.