Abby Crawford: Our work to stop domestic violence in Hammersmith and Fulham

Abby CrawfordA guest post from Abby Crawford of Advance

Every year hundreds of thousands of women and children in London alone experience some form of violence. It is linked to higher levels of child poverty, increased levels of substance abuse and costs the capital around £5.6bn a year. There are over 53,000 domestic violence crimes reported to the Metropolitan Police in London each year, and the number of reports in West London specifically is increasing.

advancehammADVANCE works with women and children in four boroughs across West London, and has been established in Hammersmith and Fulham for over 15 years.

We support women and children directly and work to prevent violence and abuse, delivering specialist support and advocacy services 24 hours a day.

In Hammersmith and Fulham, ADVANCE works with hundreds of women and children each year who have experienced domestic violence, and we provide specialist support services for women in a range of areas.

We currently have domestic violence advisers in Queen Charlotte’s and St Mary’s hospitals, based in the A&E and maternity departments, as well as in the Hammersmith and Fulham Council housing department and Hammersmith Police Station, to support women who need advice and help with housing, and/or who have reported domestic violence to the police and would like to receive support through the criminal justice system, including at court.

ADVANCE also supports women offenders and women at risk of breaking the law in Hammersmith and Fulham, through the ADVANCE Minerva Service. The Minerva service supports women who are engaged with the criminal justice system, who are on probation or serving short sentences in prison, and provides keyworkers, group programmes and specialist support for women at risk of offending.

In addition, this ADVANCE Minerva began to deliver specific support for young women who are involved with the justice system or are at risk of breaking the law.

This year ADVANCE supported over 700 women in Hammersmith and Fulham, to enable them to lead safe, equal, violence-free lives and so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. Nine out or ten women this year reported improved health and well-being as a
result of using our services, and eight  in ten women told us they feel safer. Sadly, women continue to be killed as a result of male violence or die of the consequences of abuse they have suffered.

ADVANCE will continue to work towards the eradication of violence against women, and won’t stop until its vision of women achieving equality in Hammersmith and Fulham, in London, and in the UK and rest of the world has been realised.

If you need help because of domestic or sexual violence you can contact the 24-hour national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247 (women) or the men’s advice line on 0808 8010 327 (men).

For ADVANCE services and general enquiries please email admin@advanceadvocacyproject.org.uk

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