Domestic Violence

Domestic violence (physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological, rape and sexual assault, stalking, prostitution and sexual exploitation, trafficking from sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and honour-based violence are all forms of gender-based violence and can intersect and overlap. 

Women, girls and men can be victims of gender based violence however the majority of gender based violence affected are women and girls. It manifests itself in a unequal power relationship between men and women and a violation of women's human rights. Gender based violence against women shall mean violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or affects women disproportionally (Art 3 d, Council of European Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence)

A domestic violence disclosure scheme was implemented in 2014 across England and Wales and under this scheme an individual can check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. This is the right to ask. If the records show that an individual has a violent history the police will consider disclosing this information if an individual may be at risk from a partner.

Coercive and Controlling Behaviour Offence
This came into force in December 2015. It carries a minimum of 5 years imprisonment, a fine or both. Victims who experience coercive and controlling behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, can bring their perpetrators to justice.

For every three victims of domestic abuse two will be female and one will be male. (Mary Brooks) March 2016 Mankind initiative. Equivalent of 2.2 million male victims and 4.4 million female victims)

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, 2 women will be killed a week by a current and former partner, 3 abused women a week commit suicide and a women will be assaulted 35 times before she seeks help. 30% of domestic violence either starts or intensify in pregnancy.

There were 3,131 domestic abuse offences in Lewisham at December 2016 compared to 3,143 in December 2015 and 2,546 in December 2014[1]From January 2016 to December 2016, Lewisham had the fourth highest rate of recorded domestic abuse in London (21 recorded incidents per 1,000 population)[2]707 sexual offences were recorded in December 2016, 620 in December 2015, and December 2014 had 569 offences, representing a 20% increase since 2014.[3]In 2015/2016 Lewisham had the seventh highest prevalence in London for rape and sexual offences. 

We support the partnership with the Local Authority and Athena which is run by Refuge (a national domestic violence charity supporting 3,300 women and children in any given day *2015) and training on Domestic Violence to General Practices in Lewisham. This is called IRIS training (Identification and referral to Improve safety) for victims of domestic violence. Health professionals have a vital role to play in the support offered to victims of domestic violence by ensuring those that it commissions have a robust gender based violence policy, ensure staff receive expert training to understand the complex dynamics and risks and warning signs of domestic/gender based violence and take a proactive non judgmental approach to supporting victims ensuring staff are aware of specialist service in local areas have referral protocols and essential good communication with other agencies. NHS Lewisham supports the local VAWG action plan and MARAC multi agency Risk Assessment Conference to support high risk victims of domestic abuse of those living in Lewisham.  

We support the Domestic Homicide Reviews conducted by Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) where the death of a person aged 16 years or over has or appears to have resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by a relative, household member or someone he or she has been in an intimate relationship with.

For more information on Refuge contact : 0800 112 4052, or or always call 999 in the case of an emergency.