As the journey for survivors of domestic abuse can often be long as they rebuild their lives, we provide support for each stage that meets the survivors’ needs through our services.
Crisis Support: safety planning
We support women and children suffering domestic abuse at all levels of risk of homicide or harm from perpetrators. We do this through our independent Domestic abuse Advisor (IDVA) services, accredited by Safelives ‘Leading Lights’. We provide risk management and safety planning and a tailored support plan to meet the needs of each woman.
Emotional and practical help
We provide emotional and practical support for survivors of domestic abuse and violence through the criminal justice system, including targeted advocacy and support for those who report to the police, courts and Crown Prosecution Service through the process.
We advocate for women accessing local authority services through our colocated Advocates in statutory settings such as children’s services, housing and hospitals, who are referred to us, working in a coordinated community response with statutory and agencies to provide an improved response to survivors.
Holistic support and women’s centres
Our domestic abuse outreach advocates support women and girls who have experience domestic violence and abuse, with multiple and complex needs linked to their experiences, including those who are homeless, and specialist groups and activities at our Women’s Centres.
Support to children and young people
We provide specialist support for children and young people from the age of 5 to 18 affected by experiences of domestic abuse and responding to their needs, in collaboration with Children’s services and schools where appropriate.
What we do
We can offer you advice around safety planning. We can also help you access on legal protection, such as injunctions or restraining orders. For more information, see our criminal justice section below.
We can also offer you practical advice on your immediate and long-term safety. We can assist in making you feel safer in your home by referring you for additional security measures through the Sanctuary Scheme. If you do not feel safe to remain in your own home we can help you access refuge spaces, emergency housing and support you in management transfers. For more information see our housing section below.
Our Criminal Justice Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAS) are based in local police stations as well as their offices.
They are trained to offer specialist advice on court processes and how to interact with the police, specifically those of the Specialist Domestic Violence Court.
We support clients through the criminal justice system and keep you informed of court hearings and can support you during trials.
At Advance, we have more than 20 years of experience supporting women through the criminal justice system. For more information of our Whole Justice Approach.
Our Minerva programme is available to women and young women from 15 years old of all levels of risk, with sentences in custody or in the community.
We may be able to help you access funds to support yourself if:
- You have entered the UK or were given leave to remain in the UK as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a British Citizen or someone present and settled in the UK; and
- Your relationship has broken down due to domestic violence
- You do not have the means to access accommodation or to support yourself and need financial help; and
- You are going to make a claim to stay permanently in the UK under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rule (Settlement DV)
We can work closely with immigration solicitors to get the help and advice you will need.
If you wish to leave the country, alone or with children, but someone is withholding your passport or you do not own a passport, we can also provide advice about how to get a temporary passport from the correct embassy so that you still travel to safety.
If you are suffering from problematic substance issues, we can refer you onto experts who can help address these as well as supporting you through domestic violence.
We will never tell you what to do and what you say to us will remain confidential.
Our social care specialists work closely with social care teams in number of boroughs. She can support someone to know and access their different options to improve their safety
Our Staff provide specialist support to children and young people from the age of 5 to18 affected by experiences of domestic abuse and responding to their needs, advocating with Children’s Services and schools.
Our specialist IDVA can offer face to face or telephone intervention, information and advice on risk management, welfare rights, legal matters relating to families and children and safety planning.
We can provide tailored services women with children. If you do not feel that the current child contact arrangements are safe for you or your children we can help you seek legal advice from a family solicitor and also raise your concerns with your social worker.
At Advance, we understand that pregnancy can be a very vulnerable time for a woman, especially if she is suffering from domestic abuse. Our Maternity Specialist IDVA can provide ongoing support to women during and after pregnancy, to help you get the best care available. She can advise you of your options and legal rights, and help you to increase your safety.
Our Housing Specialist IDVA works from Advance offices and housing offices. If you are being affected by domestic violence, you might have a lot of concerns around your living arrangements. Advance can help you make sense of your options. Below are some of the options we can look at together.
if you would like to stay at your property, there are additional measures we can put in place to make you safer at home. Advance can make a referral to a 'sanctuary scheme', who can visit the property to install things like window grills, safe rooms, fire proof letter boxes and additional locks on doors and windows.
A refuge is a safe, anonymous house where women are able to stay when fleeing from domestic violence. There would be other women living there, and you would be allocated a key worker to help you. No males are allowed access to a refuge, for the safety and wellbeing of the residents. If you and your IDVA think this is the right option for you, she can perform a search on your behalf, to look for availability in London or elsewhere in the UK.
We can help you approach any Local Authority and ask for information on private renting schemes. There are many different schemes available, and your IDVA can talk you through these to decide what's best for you.
If you do not feel safe in your current property for fear of your abuser, we can advise on how you can apply for emergency accommodation for you and your children. In certain circumstances, you may be able to obtain emergency housing within 24 hours.
Management of housing transfer
If you are a council house tenant and you want to move properties, we can discuss how you go about contacting your housing officer and asking for a transfer. Please note that each borough has different schemes and programmes in place. Our advisors will be able to help you understand what options are available to you.
if none of the above options are suitable, your IDVA can help you approach any Local Authority and make a homelessness application to the council’s Housing Options team.
Domestic abuse has a devastating and often long-lasting impact on many aspects of survivors’ lives, including physical and mental health, and problematic substance use.
We have specialist IDVAs based in A&E and GP practices, who help patients who are experiencing domestic abuse and also work closely with doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals so that they know how to help domestic violence survivors. Whether you want advice on your immediate or long-term safety, tips about the police and court process, our A&E IDVA can help.
When patients enter the hospital and are experiencing domestic abuse, she is close at hand and able to offer immediate support and guidance. She works closely with doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals so that they have the knowledge and tools they need to spot signs of abuse, and respond accordingly.
Whether you want advice on your immediate or long-term safety or tips about the police and court process, our A&E IDVA can help.
Your GP can offer advice and also refer you to many services if you are suffering from domestic abuse. You can find your local surgery by using this search tool on the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/GP/LocationSearch/4 ) .
To register, you will likely need to bring in a form of identification (driving licence or passport) and proof of address (a recent bill or bank statement).
At Advance, we understand that pregnancy can be a very vulnerable time for a woman, especially if she is suffering from domestic abuse. We can help support women during and after pregnancy, to help get the best care available. We can support someone to know and access their different options to improve their safety.
For our IDVAs, the client's health and wellbeing is top priority. If you are concerned about your sexual health, your IDVA can talk you through your options, help you make appointments, and provide confidential support.
There are a number of walk-in clinics in London, where you can discuss your sexual health and have testing performed by a health care professional, including:
- Burrel Street SE1 0UN
- Jefferiss Wing W2 1NY
- Walworth Road SE17 1JL
To find your nearest sexual health clinic, visit the NHS website.
If you are suffering from domestic violence and also experiencing mental health issues, our specialist IDVA can ensure you have all the help you need. We work closely with many other organisations that provide mental health services and can ensure that whatever you decide to do, the right support is in place for your needs.
Our keyworkers work closely with other partner organisations and statutory agencies to ensure you get the right support and help you need and that is suited to you.
Our Women’s centres are designed with our women in mind, whether they are here to attend group workshops, one to one sessions with their key workers, or simply a drop in, chat and a warm drink.
We organise a series of workshops geared towards self esteem and confidence building, positive supportive social skills and self care.
All of our workshops and group activities are delivered by trained and experienced facilitators passionate about women’s empowerment. Read more here.
Our professional staff are highly trained to work with everyone, including heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men.
Everyone has the right to be respected and feel safe. It is important to remember that you are not alone, the abuse is not your fault and there are people who can help you.
You can speak to our specialists over the phone by calling 07398 454 898 for Brent and 07984 110 750 for Ealing. You are also able to speak to the Men’s National Advice Line 0808 800 5005. and the LGBTQ Advice Line 0800 999 5428
It is important to remember that you are not alone, the abuse is not your fault and there are people who can help you.