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Domestic abuse and sexual violence

If you're being abused, threatened, physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, former partner, or a family member, that is domestic violence.

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Getting help

In an emergency always call 999

If you're experiencing domestic abuse and need help, you can contact us by calling 0300 456 0174 or emailing bdadvocacy@refuge.org.uk.

If you want to learn more about how to recognise domestic abuse please visit the Refuge website.

If you are a professional seeking to refer someone please see the brief and referral form:

BDDSVS brief flyer (PDF, 37 KB)

BDDSVS External referral form (DOCX, 278 KB)

Domestic Abuse Commission

Find out more about the work of the Barking and Dagenham Domestic Abuse Commission

Domestic abuse and sexual violence services

Domestic and sexual violence comes in many forms and anyone living in the borough can contact the Barking and Dagenham Domestic and Sexual Violence service for help.

The following services can also help:

Barking and Dagenham

Domestic and Sexual Violence Service - Refuge
One to one confidential, non-judgemental support and advocacy to all people living or working in Barking and Dagenham experiencing domestic abuse. This includes support for children, refuge accommodation and sanctuary schemes.

The service is currently running via phone, email, webchat and online applications.

Refuge website
Call: 0300 456 0174
Email: BDAdvocacy@refuge.org.uk

DV FLAG East
Free independent confidential advice on legal options to anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Barking and Dagenham and surrounding areas.

DV FLAG East website
Call: 020 8507 5994
Email: dvflageast@bdcab.org.uk

Excel Women’s Centre
A community hub with an open door policy. Women and children are welcome to walk straight into the Centre to relax, for advice or for the various activities on offer.

Excel Women’s Centre website
Call: 020 8594 3730

 

MARAC (for professionals)
The MARAC is a multi-agency meeting to discuss the highest risk cases of domestic abuse. The Barking and Dagenham MARAC is running every week. Please encourage your client to consent to a referral to Refuge at the same time. You do not need consent to refer to MARAC.

Email: MARACReferrals@lbbd.gov.uk

National services

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
The helpline is open 24/7 and is run by highly trained, female advisers. Many different languages are available, and they can work with callers to increase safety, access refuge accommodation and other specialist services. Call back and email available from the website.

National DA helpline website
Call: 0808 2000 247
Email: BDAdvocacy@refuge.org.uk

Respect Phoneline
The phoneline is staffed by non-judgemental advisors who can give honest advice to people using abusive behaviours.

Webchat available on the website 10am to 11am and 3pm to 4pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Respect  Phoneline website
Call: 0808 8024040
Email: info@respectphoneline.org.uk 

Men’s Advice Line
Non-judgmental emotional support, practical advice and information for men experiencing domestic abuse.

Monday: 9am to 8pm
Tuesday: 9am to 5pm
Wednesday: 9am to 8pm
Thursday: 9am to 5pm
Friday: 9am to 5pm

Webchat available on the website 10am to 11am and 3pm to 4pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Men's Advice Line website
Call: 0808 8010327
Email: info@mensadviceline.org.uk

Childline
Support and advice for any child or young person, whatever they need to talk about. Web page given specific for domestic abuse but young people can also make use of the online message boards.

Childline website
Call: 0800 1111 (9am until midnight)

National Stalking Helpline
Offers information and guidance to anybody in the UK who is currently or has previously been affected by harassment or stalking.

National Stalking Helpline website
Call: 0808 802 0300

London services

Ashiana Network
Specialist counselling and support for women who have experienced violence and abuse. Ashiana staff are working remotely. Support will be offered over the telephone, online and where safe to do so through skype. Counselling will be offered over the telephone.

Ashiana Network website
Call: 020 8539 0427
Email: info@ashiana.org.uk

London Survivors Gateway
Offers survivors of rape and sexual abuse help to access specialist services in London. Works with anyone aged 13 or above regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, language, ethnicity or immigration status.

Open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Call: 0808 801 0860

Professional Referral website 

East London Rape Crisis
Specialist help to women and girls over the age of 14 who have experienced rape, sexual abuse or violence. Support workers are working remotely. Advice, support and counselling are over the telephone.

Call: 020 7683 1210
Helpline: 0800 160 1036
Email: info@niaendingviolence.org.uk

Galop
LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse and violence can contact GALOP who provide confidential advice and support to members of the LGBT+ community.

The London Helpline is currently closed - alternative national contact details are shown.

Referrals can still be made on the Galop website.

Galop website
London Helpline: 020 7704 2040 (temporarily closed)

National LGBT+ helpline: 0800 999 5428

Deaf Hope
SignHealth works to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are Deaf. DeafHope is their specialist domestic abuse service for people who are deaf.

Deaf Hope website
Text: 07970 350366
Email: deafhope@signhealth.org.uk

Sexual exploitation  

Sexual exploitation is a form of abuse that involves the manipulation and coercion of people into sexual activity. Sexual exploitation is also a form of modern slavery.

Sexual exploitation has occurred if sex takes place and:

  • it is in exchange for basic necessities, such as food, shelter or protection
  • it is in exchange for something that is needed or wanted
  • an individual has felt frightened of the consequences if they refuse (coercion)
  • the person who is exploiting stands to gain financially or socially 

If the person is under 18 then this is child sexual exploitation and you should call the Children’s Services Duty and Assessment team on 020 8227 3852.

Learn more about safeguarding children:

Safeguarding at risk children

There are services that can help adults who are being sexually exploited too:

Domestic and Sexual Violence Service - Refuge
One to one confidential, non-judgemental support and advocacy to all people living or working in Barking and Dagenham experiencing gender-based violence - including sexual exploitation.

Refuge website
Call: 0300 456 0174
Email: BDAdvocacy@refuge.org.uk

The LEA Project
Delivered by Nia, works with women over the age of 18 in prostitution anywhere in London and provides non-judgemental advocacy and support in exiting.

Call: 0207 683 1270
Email: lea@niaendingviolence.org.uk

Arc Theatre: Raised Voices 
A  group for young women and girls in education to explore violence against women and girls through peer education.

Raised Voices website
Call: 020 8595 8509

Learn more about Child Sexual Exploitation, including signs, real stories and advice and support:

Stop CSE

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 

Domestic and Sexual Violence Service - Refuge
One to one confidential, non-judgemental support and advocacy to all people living or working in Barking and Dagenham experiencing domestic abuse. This includes FGM.

Refuge website
Call: 0300 456 0174
Email: BDAdvocacy@refuge.org.uk

Forward UK (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development)
The leading African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls.

Call: 020 8960 4000, extension 1
Call (mobile): 07834 168 141
Email: support@forwarduk.org.uk
NSPCC 
Offers help and advice to keep children safe from FGM
NSPCC FGM website
Call: 0808 800 500 
Email: Help@NSPCC.org.uk 

Excel Women’s Centre
A community hub with an open door policy. Women and children are welcome to walk straight into the Centre to relax, for advice or for the various activities on offer.

Excel Women’s Centre website
Call: 020 8594 3730

 

Forced marriage and so called ‘honour’ based violence

In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure and abuse.

So called ‘honour’ based violence (HBV) is a collection of practices used to control behaviour within families in order to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

Forced marriage can be a form of HBV, but HBV can include other types of abuse such as: 

  • domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse)
  • sexual harassment and sexual violence (rape and sexual assault or threat of rape and sexual assault)
  • threats to kill
  • social ostracism or rejection and emotional pressure
  • denial of access to children
  • pressure to go or move abroad
  • house arrest and excessive restrictions of freedom
  • denial of access to the telephone, internet, or passport/key documentation
  • denial of access to further or higher education without approval from family
  • not being allowed to talk or interact freely with peers, or being allowed to enter a relationship 
  • not being allowed to have sex before marriage or marry outside of a specified religion or cultural group
  • isolation from friends and own family

A clear distinction must be made between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and many countries for a very long time. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the child/ young person.

If you or a friend, or family member are facing forced marriage or HBV there is help available:

Domestic and Sexual Violence Service - Refuge
One to one confidential, non-judgemental support and advocacy to all people living or working in Barking and Dagenham experiencing domestic abuse. This includes both forced marriage and so called 'honour' based violence.

Refuge website
Call: 0300 456 0174
Email: BDAdvocacy@refuge.org.uk

NSPCC 
Offers help and advice to keep children safe from FGM
NSPCC FGM website
Call: 0808 800 500 
Email: Help@NSPCC.org.uk 

Excel Women’s Centre
A community hub with an open door policy. Women and children are welcome to walk straight into the Centre to relax, for advice or for the various activities on offer.

Excel Women’s Centre website
Call: 020 8594 3730

 

Karma Nirvana 
An award-winning National charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. Karma Nirvana believe that honour crimes are not determined by age, faith, gender or sexuality, and will support and work with all victims.
National Hotline: 0800 5999247
Email: info@saheli.org.uk
Facebook: Saheli Ltd
Twitter: @SaheliLtd
Forward UK
(Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development)

The leading African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls.
Call: 020 8960 4000, extension 1
Call (mobile): 07834 168 141
Email: support@forwarduk.org.uk

Forced Marriage Unit (Police)
The FMU also provides advice and information to individuals who have already been forced to marry. All caseworkers in the FMU have wide experience of the cultural, social and emotional issues surrounding forced marriage.

Call: 020 7008 0135/0230/8706
Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk

For out of hours emergencies telephone 020 7008 1500 and ask to speak to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Response Centre.

Modern slavery

Millions of people around the world are trapped in modern slavery. The National Crime Agency estimates that there are tens of thousands of people being held in modern slavery in the UK.

It is a crime happening in our communities, takeaways, hotels, car washes, nail bars and private homes. Modern slavery takes many forms. Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • forced to work through mental or physical threat
  • owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on his/her freedom

There are different types of Modern Slavery. It can include any or several of the following: 

  • sexual exploitation and sex trafficking
  • forced labour
  • debt bondage
  • domestic servitude
  • criminal exploitation 
  • forced child labour 
  • organ harvesting 

If someone’s life is in danger call 999.

You can find out more about modern slavery at Unseen:

Modern slavery - Unseen

You can also download the Unseen App.

Call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 to get help, report a suspicion or get advice. 

Domestic homicide review Toggle accordion

Domestic homicide review

The Community Safety Partnership has responsibility for domestic homicide reviews within Barking and Dagenham. Published reviews appear at the bottom of this page.

Definition and purpose of a domestic homicide review

Domestic homicide reviews were established on a statutory basis under Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004).

Domestic homicide reviews are carried out to ensure that lessons are learnt when a person has been killed as a result of domestic violence. The Home Office multi-agency statutory guidance defines a domestic homicide review (DHR) as a review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over, has or appears to have resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by:

  • a person whom he/she was related or had been in an intimate personal relationship; or
  • a member of the same household.

The purpose of a domestic homicide review is to:

  • establish what lessons are to be learned from the domestic homicide regarding the way in which local professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims
  • identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result
  • apply those lessons to service responses, including changes to policies and procedures as appropriate
  • prevent domestic violence homicide and improve service responses for all domestic violence victims and their children through improved intra- and inter-agency working

A domestic homicide review will not:

  • be an inquiry into how the victim died or into who is culpable; that is a matter for coroners and criminal courts respectively to determine as appropriate
  • specifically be part of any disciplinary enquiry or process. Where information emerges in the course of a DHR indicating that disciplinary action should be initiated, the established agency disciplinary procedures should be undertaken separately to the DHR process. Alternatively, some DHRs maybe conducted concurrently with (but separate to) disciplinary action

If a domestic homicide takes place in Barking and Dagenham, the police will immediately inform the chair of the Community Safety Partnership. The Community Safety Partnership will decide if a DHR is appropriate and, if so, appoint an independent chair and report writer. Confirmation of a decision to review, as well as a decision not to review, a homicide will be sent in writing to the Home Office in line with Home Office guidance.

In line with section 9(2) of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Secretary of State may in a particular homicide direct a specified person or body to establish, or to participate in, a DHR. Such a direction is likely to be made where a person or body has declined involvement in a DHR.

Quality assurance for completed DHRs rests with an expert group made up of statutory and voluntary agencies and managed by the Home Office. All completed overview reports and supporting documents are sent to the Home Office and are assessed against the Home Office guidance. Further information about this group can be found on the Home Office website.

Published reviews

Domestic homicide review, published 15 May 2018

Domestic homicide review - executive summary - May 2018 (PDF, 531 KB)

Domestic homicide review - overview report - May 2018 (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Domestic homicide review published 27 April 2015

Domestic homicide review - executive summary - May 2014 - AA (PDF, 669 KB)

Domestic homicide review - overview report - May 14 - AA (PDF, 844 KB)

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Ending violence against women and girls - Strategy 2018-2022 Toggle accordion

Ending violence against women and girls

A gender-informed strategy to tackle domestic and sexual violence 2018-2022

This strategy sets out the main pieces of work taking place 2018-2022 but is underpinned by work towards a whole system approach where tackling violence against women and girls is seen as everybody’s business.

Domestic and sexual violence has severe long-lasting and wide-ranging social, health and economic impacts in Barking and Dagenham. The costs are high to individuals, families, to our community, and to services. Therefore, the Borough Manifesto sets out a clear target to reduce domestic abuse.

We understand that domestic abuse is rarely experienced in isolation; it is often experienced alongside other forms of violence, which is set out in international law as Violence Against Women and Girls. We will adopt a violence against women and girls approach to tackling domestic and sexual violence to improve outcomes for women and girls, and men and boys.

Our ambition is to improve social, economic and health outcomes to survivors by working with communities to prevent violence happening in the first place and to improve early help seeking by building resilience. Resilience is not about individuals being able to cope with violence and abuse on their own. It is about increasing the internal resources and protective factors of families, communities, and local networks to recognise when it is happening, respond appropriately and challenge abusive behaviours. This will relieve pressure on overstretched services, still ensuring survivors are able to access the type of support that works for them and helping us to get it right first time.

Ending violence against women and girls: A gender-informed strategy to tackle domestic and sexual violence 2018-2022 (PDF, 930 KB)

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