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Domestic Abuse

You can find information in the below sections (please expand them) about support services for victims of domestic violence and abuse, how to spot signs of abuse, and what to do if you or someone you know may be suffering abuse.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is when someone who is ‘personally connected’ to another person carries out abusive behaviour, and they are both aged 16 or over.

Examples of people who are personally connected include partners, ex-partners or family members. These people do not have to live together.

Abusive Behaviour can be:

  • Physical
    Hitting, slapping, punching, biting, hair pulling and burning
  • Sexual
    Rape, unwanted sexual contact, forcing sex with others, forcing the victim to watch/ take part in pornography or engage in prostitution
  • Violent or Threatening behaviour
    Intimidating, threatening to hurt person or themselves, breaking of property
  • Controlling and Coercive behaviour
    Tracking someone with or without their knowledge, controlling someone’s online accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), stopping someone accessing medical care they need, isolating them from friends and family, telling them what to wear, constant calls/texts or messages
  • Emotional and Psychological
    Verbal abuse, humiliating someone, putting someone down, blaming
  • Economic
    Controlling the amount of money someone has access to, stopping someone from having a job, limiting access to things like food, damaging someone’s credit history on purpose

Other type of domestic abuse include:

  • ‘Honour-based’ violence
  • Forced Marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation

How to spot signs of domestic abuse

Many victims hide signs of their abuse. They are often afraid of further violence if they were to ask for help, feel embarrassed and ashamed, or feel that nothing will come of seeking support.

Some victims do not recognise that they are being abused, often because they have suffered from long-term abuse and may begin to feel that they deserve it or that it is impossible to escape.

Examples of signs that could suggest someone is experience domestic abuse:


  • Wearing extra clothes or makeup to hide bruises and marks from violence
  • Becoming withdrawn or avoiding social activities
  • Not engaging with support services for example not turning up to appointments or answering the phone
  • Low self esteem, self blame, or being extremely apologetic
  • Excessive worry about upsetting their partner
  • Saying that they are afraid of going home
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Being accompanied to all events/appointments
  • Having little money available


  • Bed-wetting, nightmares or not being to sleep
  • Having problems in school such as skipping school, reduced attainment
  • Afraid of going home
  • Feeling anxious
  • Physical symptoms like stomach aches
  • Withdrawal or acting out and having difficulty regulating their emotions
  • Self-harm

If you feel a ‘gut instinct’ that somebody is suffering from abuse, they probably are

Who can be a victim?

Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse though it does disproportionately affect women.

Pregnancy can increase someone’s risk of experiencing domestic abuse. Around 30% of domestic abuse begins during pregnancy.

Children as Victims

Children are recognised as victims of domestic abuse. This means even if abusive behaviour is not directed at a child but they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse they are a victim. For example, if one parent is abusing another parent and the child hears the abuse a child is also a victim. Even if the child does not see the abuse, they can still be affected by it.

In cases involving anyone under the age of 18 child safeguarding procedures should be followed to ensure children are protected and offered appropriate support. If you have any concerns contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) who will offer advice and guidance.

Children are often the silent victims of domestic violence and if they do not receive help and support from an early stage, this could affect their social and personal development with long term psychological problems.

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
020 8547 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/