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Social Justice

The domestic violence charities supporting survivors in the UK

Survivors of domestic violence and abuse need support year-round. These are some of the UK organisations providing help to those at risk

Domestic violence charities saw a huge increase in appeals for help from people suffering domestic abuse during the pandemic, saying that the lockdowns exposed the true scale of the problem. 

Refuge, a national charity running a 24-hour helpline for abuse victims, saw a 60 per cent increase in calls and messages to its National Domestic Abuse helpline from April 2020 to February 2021, compared to the months before the pandemic began.  

Almost three in four of these calls were from women who said they were experiencing violence and abuse. Nearly a fifth said the abuser had threatened to kill them.

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Research from Women’s Aid found that one in five refuge services running in November 2020 received no funding from their local authority, instead surviving on emergency government funding pots, charitable grants, trusts and donations. 

There are several charities working to support people experiencing domestic violence that can provide temporary housing, confidential helplines offering emotional and practical support, and advocacy services. Here are a few, to turn to if you need help, wish to volunteer your time or expertise, or are able to donate financially.

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid has been developing policy and supporting UK women for more than 45 years. The charity can provide temporary housing, offers an online live chat, a forum to speak with other women who have survived domestic abuse, email links to support workers and a survivor’s handbook for help navigating life after experiencing domestic violence.

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Refuge

Refuge opened the world’s first safe house for women and children fleeing domestic abuse in 1971, in West London’s Chiswick. Since then, the charity has grown into the UK’s biggest service provider for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, supporting more than 6,000 women and children per day.

Available 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, those in need can freephone Refuge’s national helpline on 0808 2000 247 or seek support online.

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Rape Crisis

With a string of independent centres across the UK, Rape Crisis provides support for survivors of sexual violence, and works to develop common understanding of abuse in all its forms. 

Visit the charity’s website to be directed to your nearest centre, to find resources about escaping abuse, or to chat online with an expert.

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Galop

Galop, run by LGBT+ people for LGBT+ people, supports those in the community who have experienced abuse, sexual violence and hate crimes.

They provide support over the phone and advocacy services for people who need assistance long-term, as well as campaigning for policy change to protect LGBT+ survivors of abuse.

Southall Black Sisters

Southall Black Sisters, created in 1979 to support Black and ethnic minority women, campaigns against gender-based violence and supports survivors. 

Their advice and resource centre is based in West London – though the charity’s work has a national reach – providing counselling, specialist advice, advocacy, casework and other support in several languages found in the local community. 

Men’s Advice Line

Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline, email and webchat service for men who are survivors of domestic abuse. The charity offers non-judgmental emotional support and practical advice as well as signposting to other services which will help protect men and their children from further abuse.

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