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 sexual abuse (including online sexual abuse)

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual act or activity, this includes: 

Sexual abuse can be perpetrated by: 

  • a stranger,
  • or by someone known and even trusted, like a
    • friend,
    • colleague,
    • family member,
    • partner or ex-partner.

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone. No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen.

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Sexual coercion

The act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will and includes persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.

Examples of sexual abuse/sexual harassment

  • Continuing to touch/kiss someone who looks awkward or freezes
  • Repeatedly asking someone to share ‘nudes’ when they have avoided the conversation or not acknowledged the request
  • Someone making sexual comments about you and you feel uncomfortable
  • Putting someone under pressure to have sexual contact with you
  • Someone who gives you a gift and expects you to perform a sexual act in return
  • Believing someone means ‘yes’ when they have said ‘no’

Rape myths

Rape myths are damaging myths about sexual abuse which can leave the victim feeling shame, guilt and prevent them accessing support because they fear being judged or not believed. These myths are believed by friends, family and society, which can affect how the victim is treated if they disclose the abuse. It is extremely important to challenge rape myths so that people better understand sexual abuse and victims feel able to tell someone about abuse.

Examples of rape myths

  • She was too drunk, she shouldn’t have got herself in that state and then she wouldn’t have been raped
  • Men can’t get raped
  • Women lie about rape because they regret having sex
  • There’s no scratches on him and she didn’t fight him off, so it wasn’t rape
  • She was wearing revealing clothes; she wanted the sexual attention

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Sexual abuse support services

Tower Hamlets support

Tower Hamlets Support

The Havens

Specialist centres in London for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. Services provided include first aid, emergency contraception, practical advice, optional forensic medical examination, medical aftercare and specialist support such as counselling, psychology and advocacy.

All services are provided without clients having to report the assault or rape to the police

24/7 - urgent advice & appointments

Tel: 020 3299 6900

020 3299 1599 (non-urgent enquiries)



Haven Whitechapel, for professional enquiries

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 020 3299 6901

East London Rape Crisis Centre (ELRC)

Offers a range of services including a helpline, criminal justice advocacy, health, welfare and benefits advocacy, support and specialist counselling to women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence, including: rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse - regardless of when it occurred, who it was perpetrated by and whether or not it was reported to the police


Monday,Tuesday, Friday and Saturday

10am to 12pm


Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 

2.30pm to 4.30pm


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

6pm to 8pm

Tel: 020 7683 1210



Provides specialist services for victims of serious and violent crime, including rape and sexual assault.


Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm 

Tel: 0203 795 5064


Secure email:



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Pan London  and national services

Pan London and national services

Ministry of Justice

Advice and support for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of sexual violence and abuse.


National Rape Crisis Helpline

 Specialist support for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Call for confidential support and/or information about your nearest services.

Monday to Sunday 12pm to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm

Tel: 0808 802 9999


Survivors UK

Provides a dedicated national web-based helpline and other services for adult men (aged 18+) who have experienced rape and/or sexual abuse at any time of their lives. Support is also available for carers, partners, and supporters of male survivors.

Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 8 pm

Enquiries about counselling

Tel: 020 3598 3898 

Support via text

Tel: 020 3322 1860


London Survivors Gateway 

Provide information on what help is available in London after rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence and offer support to access these services.

They work with anyone aged 13 or above regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, language, ethnicity or immigration status.

Monday to Friday,

10am to 4pm

Tel: 0808 801 0860

All East London

Offers a walk in Sexual health service including:

  • STI testing,
  • STI treatment,
  • rapid/same day HIV testing,
  • free pregnancy testing,
  • emergency contraception,
  • contraception and reproductive health,
  • sexual health,
  • HIV advice and support,
  • talking therapies and counselling.

Ambrose King Centre

Located near:The Royal London at Mount Terrace



E1 2BB

Tel: 020 7377 7307



Report it, Stop it

90% of unwanted sexual behaviour on London transport goes unreported. We want you to feel confident on your journey and know exactly where to turn if you need help. If you experience anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can report by text or phone

Text: 61016

Tel: 101

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Online sexual abuse

Online sexual abuse

Revenge Porn Helpline

Free, confidential advice and support.

Whilst they cannot guarantee removal of all images online, they have partnerships with internet industry partners that allow them to minimise the reach, and some of the harm caused by revenge porn.

Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

(excluding bank holidays)

Tel: 0345 6000 459 


Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP)

Works to keep children safe from sexual abuse and sexual grooming online. They work with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinate activity against these threats to bring offenders to account.


Professionals Online Safety Helpline

A free service for professionals working with children and young people. It provides signposting, advice and mediation, to resolve online safety issues staff face about themselves, such as protecting professional identity and online harassment, or problems affecting young people, for example cyber-bullying or sexting issues.

Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm


UK Safer Internet Centre

Provides e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.



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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.