Skip to main content

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time, although it is a gendered crime. This means that women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than men. In year ending March 2020, the majority of perpetrators were recorded as male (92%) and the large majority of victims were recorded as females (77%) in domestic abuse related prosecutions (ONS, 2020). It doesn’t matter who the victim is, everyone should be given appropriate support.

It is important to remember that abuse is never the victim’s fault and there is support available.

Domestic abuse victims may not ask for help for a number of reasons including:

  • Fear of not being believed
  • Feeling that they deserve to be abused
  • Fear of repercussions from the perpetrator
  • Fear of having their children removed from them

If you suspect someone is experiencing abuse remember that they may find it difficult to talk about, but do not be afraid to start a conversation with them if it is safe to do so. If you ignore the signs as well, it may reinforce some of the ideas above.

The most serious cases of abuse that result in death very rarely occur in isolation but are an escalation of the pattern of behaviour. Have a look on the domestic abuse page to see what signs you could look out for and for different types of abuse.

Please expand the sections below for more information and services.


Questions you could ask

To start a conversation you could say:

  • We routinely ask about domestic abuse because it is so common, affecting approximately 1 in 4 people.  Are you alone/is it safe to have a confidential conversation right now?
  • Is it safe to ask you some questions about your relationship with ….?
  • Do you feel you are in immediate danger?
    • If yes call 999

Further questions you could ask:

  • Is everything alright at home?
  • What support do you have currently? What support would you like?
  • Has anyone close to you (family members or sexual partners) ever made you feel afraid, controlled or isolated?
  • Does your family member/partner put you down?
  • Does your family member/partner ever threaten you?
  • Do you feel safe at home?

If you are a professional

  • Make sure you keep a record of any conversations
  • Get as much information as possible from the victim including details of the most recent incidents and any history of risks
  • Ensure you have up to date contact details and know the safe ways to contact the victim to follow up support
  • Make sure to follow appropriate safeguarding pathways within your organisation
    • If anyone under the age of 18 is involved always contact the child safeguarding team
    • If there is a vulnerable adult involved contact the adult safeguarding team
  • Refer the victim to a domestic abuse service if they consent. If they do not consent provide them with contact information for services in case they change their mind.
  • If you have had training, complete the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and ‘Honour’-based violence Risk Indication Checklist (DASH RIC) and refer to the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) if appropriate.
  • Work in partnership with any other agencies supporting the individual. Partnership working is the best way to support someone.
  • Remember you do not have to deal with this alone – speak to your manager for support and any questions you might have

How to help someone you think is experiencing abuse


  • Call 999 if you think the person is in immediate danger
  • Ensure that any conversation that you have with a person you feel is at risk is in private and in a safe space
  • Listen to the concerns of the person
  • Maintain strict confidentiality
  • Follow your organisation’s referral process and safeguarding procedures
    • If anyone under the age of 18 is involved always contact the child safeguarding team
    • If there is a vulnerable adult involved contact the adult safeguarding team
  • Remind them it is not their fault and that you believe them
  • Check in with the person if it is safe to do so. Remember an abuser may monitor someone’s messages/social media or they may be near by if you call them
  • Provide information on specialist support services to the person

Do not:

  • Do not ignore the issue - someone’s life may be at risk
  • Do not attempt to act as a mediator between the victim and any suspected perpetrator ever
  • Do not disregard or downplay anything that the victim says.
  • Do not speak to the victim in front of friends/relatives about your concerns
  • Do not allow a family member/friend to act as a translator if one is needed. You must get an impartial service to do this
  • Do not assume that if the abuse isn’t physical it isn’t illegal or a real problem
  • Do not victim blame: For example do not use phrases such as ‘you provoked him’
  • Do not justify or excuse the perpetrators behaviour. For example do not use phrases like ‘he was drunk’. Abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser.
  • Do not ask the victim why they stay with their partner. There are a lot of different reasons why someone stays. You can watch this video to understand the complexities. Private Violence Presents: Why We Stayed - YouTube
  • Do not allow the victim to go home if you feel that they are in immediate danger. Call 999

Services in Wandsworth

If someone is in immediate danger always call 999

Hestia Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service
020 3879 3544 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

Refuge Complex Needs Service
0208 547 6046 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

Wandsworth One Stop Shop Service* (run by Hestia/drop in service, no appointments necessary)

  • St. Mark’s, Battersea Rise, SW11 1EJ
    • Monday between 10.00am to 12.00pm (excluding bank holidays)
  • Picasso Building, Minstead Gardens, Roehampton, SW15 4EE
    • Wednesdays 10.00am to 12.30pm

*One Stop Shop Service is a drop-in service for domestic abuse survivors who would like to come in and access discrete non-judgemental support, free advice and information from agencies that are all under one roof concerning domestic abuse, stalking and sexual violence

Adult Social Services (for adults with support needs)
020 8871 7707/020 8871 8999 (out of hours)

Housing Support (Wandsworth council)
020 8871 6840 (M-F 9am - 4.30pm)/020 8871 6000 (out of hours)

MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (for concerns around children)
020 8871 6622/020 8871 6000 (out of hours)

Sanctuary Scheme (support to help survivors secure their home)
020 8871 7333

Wandsworth L.I.N.K.S (Delivering parenting and domestic abuse groups for parents, carers and children in Wandsworth)

National services

National Rape Crisis
0808 802 9999/Live Chat

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247 (free 24 hours a day)/Live Chat (M-F 3pm - 10pm)

Women and Girls Network
0808 8010 660/Live Chat


0800 1111

NSPCC (for professionals)
0808 800 5000

Women and Girls Network's Young Advice Casework (Ascent)(for girls aged 14 - 18)
0808 801 0660