Our vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, violence-free, equal lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. We do this through our mission of saving and changing lives, by working with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
Our approach is holistic and centred on the survivor, working with them to develop a safety and support plan that responds to their needs and empowers them, on the often long journey to recovery from the trauma of their experiences.
Our founders' message
In 1998, women’s organisations together with criminal justice and statutory agencies in the Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF) came together to respond to the fact that out of the 2,000 domestic abuse incidents reported in the area in 1996, there were only 10 convictions.
As a direct result, our founders Bear Montique and Beryl Foster OBE set up Advance Advocacy and Non Violence Community Education, known as Advance, to provide a new service delivery response to survivors in the community, by improving advocacy and access to support in a coordinated way. At the same time, they set up our sister organisation Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse (referred to as Standing Together) aiming to deliver innovation in the strategic and operational response of agencies working with survivors, their children and perpetrators, resulting in the Coordinated Community Response (CCR).
Our work with survivors of abuse and violence
The innovation of the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) model in 2005 was one of the outcomes of Advance’s work, as well as the co-location model within police stations in 2000 and specialist domestic abuse courts, with the first one set up in 2002 in LBHF. Through co-locating with partners, we are able to deliver a joined up response to survivors, both improving their access to support and also sharing knowledge and expertise with professionals and practitioners in those settings, which in turn delivers systems improvements and change to meet the needs of survivors and their children. Since then, Advance has expanded its IDVA co-located model into further statutory settings including hospitals, social care and housing services, courts and probation.
In 2013, Advance and Standing Together, in partnership with criminal justice agencies, developed a new Whole Justice Approach, namely the Impact Programme, which included developing specialist CJ (Criminal Justice) IDVAS and promoting the use of SDAC (Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts) to improve justice outcomes for survivors. Advance’s CJ IDVAs provide one-on-one trauma informed advocacy for survivors through the process from reporting to pre-trial and trial, training for Criminal Justice professionals and a joined up coordinated response for both survivors and professionals to further our mission of changing lives, saving lives.
Our work for women involved in the Criminal Justice System
In 2007, the Corston report (Read HERE) on women in the criminal justice system and in prisons called for a gender-specific response to women in custody, in recognition of the clear link between women’s traumatic experiences and their offending. This led to the launch of the Minerva Service Pilot in 2011– a women only centre offering holistic, consistent and trauma informed support, meeting their individual needs over a long period of time, empowering them to break the cycle of re-offending and preventing the breakdown of families. The Minerva service is now well established and is being delivered across 22 London Boroughs.
In 2019, in partnership with MOPAC and the Metropolitan Police, The Women’s Diversion Service, led by Advance was launched with the aim to integrate a holistic package of support with an out of court disposal, to improve outcomes for the women and offer police officers and the CPS a robust alternative pathway into community services and diverting women away from prosecution through the courts.
Listen and support
We listen without judgement, supporting women and girls, each other and our partners, to openly express themselves, better understand their own experiences and options available to them.
We empower women and girls to make their own informed decisions so that they can lead the lives they choose and we respect their choices. We empower each other by sharing information and expertise, so that we can take initiative and make decisions which improve our services, respecting each other.
We champion new, innovative and breakthrough ideas, while attentively managing risks, through our teams’ passion for continuous learning and thriving on tackling new challenges. We give each other the tools, inspiration and support we need to excel.
We collaborate inside and outside the organisation to maximize our shared knowledge and bring greater impact to one another and our beneficiaries. The solutions we deliver are the sum of our collective work, perspectives, specialisms and experiences. Our teamwork inspires us to make our best contributions, promotes communication and celebrates our shared achievements.
Quality and Accountability
Our knowledge, expertise, collaborative and proactive approach lead to high quality service and accountability that continuously sets us apart. We anticipate and manage complex challenges with agility, while always considering the impact of our decisions, making a tangible difference for the better.
Advance is founded by Bear Montique
Advance co-location at the Police stations
First Specialist Domestic Abuse Court (SDAC) in Hammersmith & Fulham
Development of the Advance Domestic Abuse Advocate (led to IDVA Model)
Launch of the Minerva Service Model
Development of the Impact service, and a Whole Justice Approach
Launch of the Minerva WrapAround Approach
Launch of the London Diversion service
Our Strategy 2018 – 2022
Our annual reports
Our confidentiality policy states that we will not discuss your case with any other agency without your permission. However, if there are concerns relating to Child Protection issues or if you are at serious risk of harm, we would need to disclose this information to the relevant agencies to help safeguard yourself and your children.
We will only share information that is necessary and will do so in a respectful and safe way.