Forced marriage and school holidays

As the school holidays approach and travel restrictions are lifted, there is a risk of children being taken abroad, and being forced to marry. Forced marriage is illegal.

We need to stay alert to Signs of children and young people being in potential danger of Forced Marriage. It is important to act quickly, without alerting family members or friends who may be part of the plans.

Find out how to get help

Support services for domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is not always physical. If your partner, ex-partner or family member is controlling you, forcing you to do things you don’t want to and they frighten you sometimes, this is domestic abuse. Domestic abuse covers a range of types of abuse, including, but not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • economical
  • or emotional abuse

Controlling and coercive behaviours

Domestic abuse can be prosecuted under a range of offences and describes a range of controlling and coercive behaviours, used by one person to maintain control over another with whom they have, or have had, an intimate or family relationship. Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident.

Controlling and coercing behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This is a crime.

This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent on the perpetrator (abuser) by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour. Examples of coercive and controlling behaviour:

  • Reading messages on your phone
  • Telling you what you can/cannot wear
  • Threatening to tell your family/friends/community that you are gay/lesbian/bisexual
  • Threatening to send your ‘nudes’ to your family/friends
  • Criticising your parenting skills in front of others
  • Putting loans in your name

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Economic abuse

Economic abuse is a way to restrict the victim’s economic stability, by restricting access to food, clothing, transport or not dividing Universal Credit. The abuser might restrict your ability to improve your financial situation by not allowing you to study/work, refusing to take care of the children so that you can’t go to work/study. Or they might take out loans in your name, not pay the rent/mortgage/bills or spend your money on their addiction.

In case of an emergency

In an emergency you should always call 999.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without having to speak.

Safety advice if you are living with your abuser

  • Keep your phone charged and on you at all times
  • Ensure phone credit is topped up
  • Keep away from the kitchen if trying to find a safe space / avoid your abuser
  • Speak to a trusted neighbour about the situation and ask them to call 999 if they hear loud noises/arguments
  • At the first sign of abuse call 999 for help

The Women's Aid website has safety advice and a COVID-19 safety guide

If your abuser has access to your phone/internet access, please delete your browsing history after you have visited the site

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Worried about a friend or neighbour

If you are worried that your friend or neighbour is experiencing domestic abuse you can:

  • Reach out to the victim and let them know that you care
  • Ask the victim if they are ok
  • Call 999

Contact Solace's Silence Shields Abuse Campaign if you would like to talk to someone about your concern. Tel: 0808 802 5565

You could be the person that makes a difference.

Ask for ANI campaign

Ask for ANI is a campaign that helps those at risk or suffering abuse to get support within pharmacies. If you ask a trained pharmacy worker for ANI, they will take you to a private area. They will then help you get support from the police or other services such as a domestic abuse helpline.

The following pharmacies have signed up to this scheme:

  • TSB Bank - 404 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AH, UK
  • Lincoln’s Pharmacy - 124 St Paul's Way, E3 4QA
  • Boots - Commercial Road, E1 0LB
  • Boots - 426-428 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0DJ
  • Boots - Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR
  • Boots - Unit 14 Canada Square, E145AX
  • Boots -15 Cabot Squsre, E14 4QS
  • Boots -45 Bank Street, Jubilee Place, E14 5NY
  • Boots - 18-20 Vesey Path, E14 6BT
  • Boots - 44136 Surrey Quays Shopping, SE16 7LL

Other pharmacies may sign up to this campaign, so please look for Ask for ANI posters in your local pharmacy.

See the list of Safe Spaces where you can ask for support.

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Tower Hamlets support services

Tower Hamlets support services



Free and confidential practical and emotional support to high-risk victims of domestic violence living in Tower Hamlets. Including advocacy, referral and information. The domestic abuse does not have to have been reported to the police. Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) offer one-to-one support and referrals to other specialist agencies e.g. counselling

IDVAs provide safety planning and risk assessment for domestic abuse cases. They liaise with criminal justice agencies and housing services to increase safety and will submit third party reports to police if requested by the client.

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

Tel: 0203 795 5064


Secure email:

Non-Secure email:


SASS referral form

WIT - Women's Inclusive Team HAAWA Project

Women’s Inclusive Team (WIT) supports Black and ethnic minority communities in Tower Hamlets through youth programmes, women’s empowerment projects, mental health support and our food bank and community kitchen. The HAAWA Project works to break bias by empowering Somali women to access support and to be free from all forms of abuse.

Tel: Tel: 020 7790 2650


Mayfield House

202 Cambridge Heath Road

London E2 9LJ



  • victims of domestic abuse

Which is specifically aimed at supporting South Asian women & children

Deliver a range of domestic abuse services in London, including a refuge in Tower Hamlets.

Tel: 020 7517 1420 or 020 7858 6500

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Refuges email:

LBTH Domestic Abuse Helpline for Professionals


  • Professionals


The council’s professional’s advice and signposting service, delivered by the VAWG Team. The team does not undertake direct casework.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 0800 279 5434 (Freephone)

Tel: 020 7364 4986 (Landline)


(Please be advised that this is not an emergency helpline and your call may not be able to be taken immediately. In these cases, please leave a message, stating your name, organisation, contact number and that it is safe to call you back.)

LBTH Sanctuary Project

Helps with:

  • Victims of domestic abuse
  • Risk of homelessness

Free tailor-made security for victims of domestic abuse. Run by the council in partnership with Housing.

The service is based on a risk assessment and aims to prevent homelessness amongst victims of domestic abuse.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 0800 279 5434 (Freephone)

Tel: 020 7364 4986 (Landline)



Poplar Job Centre


Your advisor can inform you about domestic abuse easements you may be entitled to, which could ease financial pressure you are under. They also have an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) on-site who can provide you with one-to-one support, give you safety advice, inform you of your rights, support you to report incidents to police or provide ongoing emotional support, whether you stay in the relationship or not.


13 Dod Street,

Tower Hamlets,


E14 7EP


Tel: 0800 169 0190

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Pan-London and National support

Pan-London and National support

Galop- National LGBT Domestic Abuse helpline

Abuse from family, partners, and ex-partners does happen in LGBT communities. Galop is a safe space for service users to talk and think about what they want away from pressure at home. Galop can help service users to explore their options, plan to make themselves safer, look for safe housing and speak with the police.

Monday to Friday,

10am to 5pm

Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 8pm



Refuge's National Domestic Violence Helpline


A national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Call this number to search for refuge spaces.

support and information from fully trained female helpline support workers. All calls are confidential. Translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English, and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing are available.

Voicemail during busy times are checked every half an hour. Leave a message to be called back with a safe time to do so if appropriate.

When returning a call, the Helpline won't leave a message as this may jeopardise individuals’ safety.

24 hours 7 days a week

Tel: 0808 2000 247


Solace women's aid network


Provides free and confidential telephone support for women and girls over the age of 14 who have experienced any form of domestic or sexual abuse.

providing advice and support with:

  • improving safety,
  • housing and
  • homelessness,
  • finances and welfare
  • benefits,
  • access to legal services and children.

As part of the Ascent partnership they work with partner agencies across London who can provide specialist one to one support in clients’ local boroughs and in various languages. Solace has specialist services including The Silver Project (over 55), Irish and Irish Traveller Women’s Project, Empower project (Albanian Speaking Women project), immigration Project and arts therapies.

Tel: 0808 802 5565


London Black Women’s Project (LBWP)

A domestic violence organisation committed to ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

LBWP provides women-only outcomes-focused services in safe and confidential space through a number of projects to BMER women and girls aged 12+ across East London and Haringey, including those who have experienced or at risk of CSE.

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm

Tel: 0208 472 0528


Woman’s Trust

Individual counselling: We offer a programme of one-to-one counselling, up to 18 free, weekly counselling sessions, with the same counsellor where you can explore how you are feeling and discuss your experiences in a safe, confidential, and non-judgemental environment.

Counselling is currently being offered via telephone and video Zoom.

Support groups: Isolation is one of the most common, and significant, effects of domestic abuse. Our support groups help women to build supportive relationships with each other and grow their social circles, while discussing common experiences and issues and learning coping mechanisms.

Workshops: Open to all our clients. Workshops cover a range of topics, from rebuilding self-esteem to understanding the effects of stress.

All groups are currently being offered via video Zoom.

For all services you will need a safe and confidential space.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 0207 034 0303



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VAWG service directory

You can find lots of other useful services on the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) service directory homepage.