Domestic Abuse Portal
Welcome to our Domestic Abuse Professionals’ Portal! Developed as part of our Home Office-funded project, Prevent-Protect-Repair (PPR), here you will find resources and information on domestic abuse services that are being delivered locally within the London Borough of Lewisham.
Here, you can also find out more information on the two core domestic abuse programmes that are being delivered – the CODA Programme (Children Overcoming Domestic Abuse – formerly known as the Community Groups Programme) and the Freedom Programme – along with information on how you, as a professional, are able to signpost, refer and support survivors of domestic abuse to access the appropriate support at the right time.
Prevent Protect Repair
Information on Domestic Abuse
Prevent, Protect, Repair
Lewisham have recently been awarded funding from the What Work’s Centre for Children’s Social Care and the Home Office to run an innovative new programme aimed at building the skills, confidence and capacity of statutory and community services within the Children and Young People Directorate to respond to families affected by domestic abuse.
The aim of the PREVENT–PROTECT–REPAIR programme is to support the Children and Young People Directorate to:
- Identify, record and report domestic abuse
- Understand the impacts on children and families
- Directly offer evidence-based support
- Fully consider the role of fathers for risk and protective factors
The PREVENT–PROTECT–REPAIR programme includes the following elements:
- Training for practitioners in domestic abuse interventions, and subsequent co-delivery of interventions to families.
- A Domestic Abuse Advisory Hub of specialist professionals providing advisory ‘surgeries’, including case formulation, advice and safety planning, for practitioners working with families affected by domestic abuse. During the Advisory Hub, you will receive information, advice and support with case planning from specialist professionals, as well as referral on to additional support or programmes as needed.
- Access to specialist external provision including play therapy and healthy relationships support.
To access these services for Social Workers
This film, the Timekeeper, was developed to raise awareness about the serious impact that domestic abuse can have on children and will be used as a tool to engage and support professionals and community members to understand and respond in an effective way.
Importantly, the film is based on real life experiences of Lewisham residents. It highlights that abuse can be subtle and complex, and encourages discussion and challenges understanding of coercive control and the impact that it can have on children.
Warning: this film occasionally contains strong language and adult themes (which may be unsuitable for children). The content of this film is based on the testimony and experiences of real people and portrays examples of living within a coercive and controlling relationship and may cause distress.
Coercive control 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. Domestic abuse is NOT always physical, it can be verbal, psychological, emotional and financial. Domestic abuse and coercive control is against the law.
If you have been affected by this film or if you are experiencing domestic abuse, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Support is available:
Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
If you are worried about a child and require more information and advice please call:
NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000
If you have a hearing impairment please be aware you can watch the film with subtitles and if you require information or support please access:
SIGNHEALTH – DOMESTIC ABUSE SERVICE: Text or WhatsApp/FaceTime 07970 350366 / email@example.comIf you suffered abuse in childhood you might be finding things especially difficult, support is available: 0808 801 0331 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on coercive control, please refer to our information sheets on coercive control below:
For more information on coercive control, please download our information sheet:
Domestic Abuse Services in Lewisham
The Athena service, run by Refuge provides confidential, non-judgmental support to those living in the London Borough of Lewisham who are experiencing gender-based violence. It opened its doors in April 2015 and provides outreach programmes, independent advocacy, group support, refuge accommodation and a specialist service for young women.
It provides the following services, all under one roof:
- One-to-one confidential, non-judgmental, independent support
- A specialist independent gender-based violence advocacy (IGVA) team to support clients at risk of serious harm
- A specialist service for 13-19 year-old girls
- Group support
- A peer support scheme to help break isolation; build social networks and provide support clients regain control of their lives
- Volunteering opportunities
- Women and girls aged over 13
- Men aged 16 or older
- Transgender and identifies as male, female, as another gender, or is questioning gender identity
Everyone’s needs are unique and we will work with you to create a support plan that helps keep you and your children safe. For example you may need to:
- Talk to someone who understands what you are going through
- Receive support with contacting the police
- Move away from the area
- Access a refuge
- Stay at home, but want to find out how you can keep safe
- Receive support if you are considering going to court
- Access legal advice
- Manage your financial situation
- Find out about support networks in your community
- Get specialist support for your children
Gender-based violence is violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender. Gender-based violence is mostly inflicted by men on women and girls. Types of gender-based violence include:
- Domestic violence (physical, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological abuse)
- Rape and sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Human trafficking and modern slavery (for example, sexual exploitation; forced labour; domestic servitude)
- Female genital mutilation (FGM)
- Forced marriage
- So-called ‘honour’-based violence
Visit this page for more information on the different forms of gender-based violence.
Our two core domestic abuse programmes that currently run are the CODA and Freedom Programmes.
The following programmes are being delivered in the Summer Term 2022:
10/05/22 - 19/07/22
11/05/22 - 20/07/22
Face to Face
10/05/22 - 19/07/22
Download our overview of each programme provided
To make a referral into our service, please either complete our online referral form or Word referral form by following the buttons below
The Children Overcoming Domestic Abuse (CODA) Programme
CODA is a 12-week therapeutic programme for women & children who have experienced Domestic Abuse. It provides a community based setting for children to share and talk about their experiences, so they understand abuse, reduce their self-blame, can do some planning to keep themselves safe, and learn how to manage their emotions so they can be expressed appropriately.
CODA enables the recovery process and aims to: Validate the children’s experiences Reduce the self-blame that is commonly associated with children experiencing abuse Develop a child-appropriate safety plan Manage appropriate and inappropriate expressions of emotion Enhance the mother-child relationship Enable both the mother and child to heal together
There is a separate programme for the children and the mothers, these run concurrently. It can be delivered as both a group programme and 1 to 1. It is a Canadian group work model adapted for the UK by AVA (Against Violence and Abuse).
Usually the programme is delivered face to face, however this could not continue following the COVID-19 lockdown and a new online version was developed. Regular check-ins were carried out with both the children and mothers whose programmes were put on hold- to provide support and ensure their safety during lockdown. This was extended to include vulnerable families on the waiting list.
The new digital offer was developed by EYA Lewisham Children and Family Centres alongside AVA – to ensure fidelity to the CODA programme and enable standardisation across the multi-agency delivery model. This included scrutinising each session and adapting every activity to ensure it translated effectively to online delivery, whilst replicating the group experience. Particular care was taken to ensure the potentially triggering nature of the sensitive material covered could be done safely online. An additional online ‘top-up’ training session for facilitators has been created and is now considered a pre-requisite to delivery. The training package upskills practitioners and increases their confidence in two key areas: (1) the use of Zoom as a vehicle to facilitate a safe space for women and children to process their experiences, in a way that continues to maintain their confidentiality and privacy; (2) to effectively facilitate the adapted, online-friendly activities.
Frequently Asked Questions – CODA Programme
What does the CODA Programme seek to achieve?
The CODA programme is a twelve-week therapeutic programme for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. It seeks to enable the recovery process and aims to:
- Validate the children’s experiences.
- Reduce the self-blame that is commonly associated with children experiencing abuse.
- Develop a child-appropriate safety plan.
- Manage appropriate and inappropriate expressions of emotion.
- Enhance the mother-child relationship.
- Enable both the mother and child to heal together.
How are the groups structured?
The CODA Programme runs for twelve weeks with the women and children’s sessions running concurrently and each week focusing on a specific theme. The children’s sessions are also divided into age-specific groups and both the women’s sessions and the children’s sessions follow the same structure every week in order to provide a sense of continuity. This may include the following:
Are there any contraindications that would mean that the CODA programme is not the appropriate service right now?
Due to the CODA Programme being a recovery programme, we do not accept referrals where the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator is still residing in the family home.
We also do not accept referrals where children are on Child Protection Plans. We, as a service, are committed to ensuring that women and children receive the right support at the right time so please do contact Lou Neville-Ball, Family Services Officer, on 07964350616 to discuss alternative support that may be available locally.
Are you currently delivering virtually?
Yes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have turned our attention to delivering the CODA Programme virtually via Zoom. We have ensured that the necessary precautions have been taken in order for delivery to take place safely online.
Should attendance be mandated as part of a statutory response?
No. Attendance should not be mandated as part of a statutory response. It is the woman and child’s choice to attend – they must do so voluntarily.
Impact of the CODA Programme
The videos below illustrate the impact that our recovery support – in the form of the CODA Programme – has had on children. Using the voices of the children, these powerful videos encapsulate the child’s lived experience and what they have gained as a result of attending the CODA Programme.
(Note: the children’s voices have been disguised to maintain their anonymity.)
The Freedom Programme
The Freedom Programme is for women who are or have been experiencing domestic abuse. It examines the influence of attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusers and the responses of those who have experienced the abuse.
The programme helps women to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, to understand how their children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed. It gives women the space to develop ways of thinking and behaving to protect themselves and their children from harm.
The aims of The Freedom Programme are:
- To help women understand the beliefs held by abusive men and to recognise which of these beliefs they have shared
- To illustrate the effects of domestic abuse on children
- To assist women to recognise potential future abusers
- To help women gain self-esteem and the confidence to improve the quality of their lives
- To introduce women to other women who share similar experiences
Frequently Asked Questions – The Freedom Programme
What is the Freedom Programme and what does it seek to achieve?
- Provide women who are experiencing or surviving domestic abuse with a safe, supportive and friendly environment.
- Allow women to recognise the tactics and behaviours of ‘the dominator’ – that is, the tactics that typify a perpetrator of domestic abuse.
- Give women the opportunity to build connections with other women.
How are the groups structured?
The Freedom Programme focuses on a different theme each week based on the types of tactics that a perpetrator uses – ‘the dominator’. ‘The dominator’ is then contrasted with a non-perpetrating partner, ‘The Friend’, in order for the women to reflect through structured discussion.
Are there any contraindications that would mean that the Freedom Programme is not the appropriate service right now?
Due to the Freedom Programme being a recovery programme, we do not accept referrals where the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator is still residing in the family home.
We, as a service, are committed to ensuring that women and children receive the right support at the right time so please do contact Lou Neville-Ball, Family Services Officer, on 07964350616 to discuss alternative support that may be available locally.
Are you currently delivering virtually?
Yes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have turned our attention to delivering the Freedom Programme virtually via Zoom. We have ensured that the necessary precautions have been taken in order for delivery to take place safely online.
Should attendance be mandated as part of a statutory response?
No. Attendance should not be mandated as part of a statutory response. It is the women’s choice to attend – she must do so voluntarily.
Impact of the Freedom Programme
The videos below illustrate the impact that our recovery support – in the form of the Freedom Programme – has had on participants. Using actors’ voices, these powerful videos capture the women’s experiences of the Freedom Programme and the impact it has had on them.
‘My son is happier and more confident. He seems to be more happy with himself and he seems to be less quick to be scared’.
Freedom Programme Parent
Information and Support
Directory of Support
Taking Care of Ourselves
Domestic abuse is an emotive and poignant topic, and one that we may all have experienced professionally and/or personally. Working in the world of domestic abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) more generally is meaningful, rewarding and uplifting. However, it can also be stressful, upsetting and demanding. As practitioners and healers, indirect exposure to others’ trauma can bring about secondary trauma, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.
Library of Resources
|No Tolerance to FGM day|
|AAF Zero Tolerance for FGM|
|No recourse leaflet SMV|
|VAWG Bulletin Issue 12|
|VAWG Bulletin Issue 11|
|VAWG Bulletin Issue 10|
|Expect Respect Healthy Relationships Toolkit|
|Domestic Abuse Partner Pack (November 2020)|
|Briefing for local partners on Ask for ANI domestic abuse codeword scheme|
|Ask for ANI Pharmacies – BCU & Borough|
|Excel File||45 KB||excel-file|
|Ask for ANI Domestic Abuse Scheme Partners Q&A Launch|
|Domestic Abuse Poster (A3 Size)|
Frequently asked questions about the …
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