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Social Justice

The domestic violence charities supporting survivors in the UK

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

Experts from domestic violence charities and organisations warned the rate of abuse could surge around the Euro 2020 final as new research showed football can magnify abuse.

Domestic violence increases around five per cent every two hours after a big match, according to a study by the Centre for Economic Performance, peaking at an 8.5 per cent spike around ten hours after kickoff. At the 2010 World Cup, researchers found a 33.9 per cent increase in domestic violence incidents after an England loss.

But charities and experts are clear: football doesn’t cause domestic abuse. The blame rests solely with the abuser.

“Throughout the Euros, our message to women and girls experiencing domestic abuse has been clear: You are not alone, Refuge is here for you,” Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, told The Big Issue.

“Regardless of who wins and who loses at football, domestic abuse is systemic, purposeful behaviour and happens all year round. Football tournaments do not cause abuse – abuse is a choice a perpetrator makes – but they can exacerbate pre-existing abusive behaviours.”

There are several domestic violence charities working to support people experiencing abuse. Here are a few, to turn to if you need support or to campaign or donate to if you can.

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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.

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.

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.

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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