Get Support

I know I need support

If you or someone you know needs support right now, The Gaia Centre is a service that will help you with any of your concerns. Disclaimer: please note, any hyperlinked sites do not always have safety mode features. If you click through to another site, make sure you’re in a safe place and clear your search and cookie history after leaving those sites.

The Gaia Centre

The Gaia Centre (run by Refuge) provides confidential, non-judgmental, and independent support services for those living in Lambeth who are experiencing gender-based violence, including domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment.

Contact the Gaia Centre by:

Phone on 020 7733 8724 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday, with an additional out-of-hours on-call service provided) or email at [email protected].

This is a step towards you getting active support and not feeling like you have to go through this alone. However, if you’re not sure whether the Gaia centre is for you let me show you what they can support you with, so you can think about it.

The Gaia Centre is for anyone living in Lambeth who has experienced or is at risk of violence and/or harassment including:

  • Women, girls, and non-binary people, aged 13 and over
  • Men and boys aged 16 and over
  • Young people of all genders from the age of 11, who have witnessed, experienced, or have been impacted by domestic abuse
  • Transgender people, and anyone who identifies as male, female, non-binary, as another gender, or is questioning their gender identity

If these points apply to you, then The Gaia Centre is the right place to get started; They are a trusted team of individuals and services that want to support you and see you recover from this.

Gaia Centre Services

  • Talk to someone who understands what you are going through
  • Get specialist support for you and your children
  • Get help with contacting the police
  • Move away from the area
  • Access a refuge
  • Find out how to keep safe at home
  • Receive support if you are considering going to court
  • Access legal advice
  • Get help to manage your financial situation
  • Find out about support networks in your community
  • Get specialist support for your children
  • Get support around tech abuse
  • Be referred to FGM services

We can go into a lot more detail on The Gaia Centre and their services:

The service is free to use and staffed by Women. Children are also welcome.

For Non-English Information, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

I think I need support

If you’re not sure if you need help or if you want to better understand your or your friends’ experiences. Let’s look at what VAWG is…

What is VAWG?

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is the official term used to describe any form of gender-based violence. This can include a range of behaviours like Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Stalking & Harassment. Below are the official definitions used by the UN (United Nations).

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is the term used to define gender-based violence.

VAWG describes forms of violence and abuse that disproportionately affect women and girls and are usually perpetrated by men. However, people of any gender can experience abuse of this nature and the consequences affect everyone.

The impact of VAWG causes significant harm to women, but also hurts children and creates additional risks and barriers to support, safety and wellbeing for male, trans, and non-binary victims and survivors.

Though the definition of VAWG is gender specific to women and girls, if you identify as trans or non binary, know that you can access these services.

VAWG refers to multiple types of violence and abuse. Let’s take a look at the different types in more detail.

Disclaimer: please note, any hyperlinked sites do not always have safety mode features. If you click through to another site, make sure you’re in a safe place and clear your search and cookie history after leaving those sites.

Domestic Abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, defines domestic abuse as ‘If two people are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and the behaviour is abusive’.

Here are examples of abuse:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Having your freedom and choices controlled, which can include isolation, exploitation (taking advantage), denying/ removing personal means, and controlling your everyday behaviour
  • Acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation/bullying to a person
  • Abuse that harms, punishes, or frightens a person
  • Financial abuse
  • Psychological, mental, emotional, or other abuse


No matter your gender, age, sexuality and race, it is still considered abuse if this has happened once or multiple times; even if it has been done by a family member, a friend or an intimate partner who has been violent towards you.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Cutting

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as ‘cutting’, is when a female’s private parts are cut, injured, or changed by force without any medical reason for why it is done. These are other names that FGM is known by: female circumcision, sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez, khitan, and more.

It may be performed in some communities and for religious reasons.

There could be several signs along the way if FGM might happen. For example:

  • A relative or someone known as a ‘cutter’ visiting from abroad or your family arranges a long holiday overseas during summer
  • A special occasion or ceremony takes place where a girl ‘becomes a woman’ or is ‘prepared for marriage’
  • Females in your family have had FGM

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is when one or two people do not want to get married to one another but are pressured to. This pressure can be done by emotional, financial, physical, or psychological abuse. Forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage and is another form of domestic abuse. It can involve people other than family members or intimate partners; you will find them forcing you to look up to them and this is known as ‘honour’-based abuse.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation is when someone or a group of people try to misuse their power or take advantage of your vulnerability and trust for sexual needs. This can help the perpetrator (the person doing wrong) with financial gain, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. When the victim and the survivor is under the age of 18, this is child sexual exploitation.

Sexual Exploitation can include:

  • Prostitution (a business where someone is used for sexual activities in order for another person to make money from them- I)
  • Trafficking (a business where people are transferred, tricked and used by someone for money to be made – UN)
  • Modern slavery (when someone is being used for another person’s financial gain)


Trafficking is also another form of VAWG and is when a person is unaware of the plan for them to be used sexually within different countries and across the world.

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. Here are some examples of sexual violence that happen:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment

The perpetrator can be anyone. It can be a family member, an intimate partner, or a total stranger that you do not know.

Sexual Violence can happen at any age and can also happen anywhere; it can happen in the family/household, workplace, public spaces, social settings (such as parties or gatherings), school, and at any point in life. It can also happen online — if someone sends you an inappropriate image without your consent using technology and online platforms such as an app or a website, this is called grooming and is another kind of sexual violence.

So-Called ‘Honour’-Based Violence

‘Honour’-based violence is when someone within the family uses controlling behaviour to protect cultural, spiritual, religious beliefs, and/honour. It is linked to family members or acquaintances who believe someone has embarrassed their family or brought shame to their family or community by doing something that isn’t in line with the traditional belief of their culture.

This is also another form of domestic abuse but in most so-called ‘honour’-based violence cases there are multiple people who are perpetrators from different areas of the family; for example, the immediate family (parents, siblings, spouses, or children), the extended family (uncles, aunties, grandparents, cousins, and other relatives) or even the community may be involved.

Stalking and Harassment

Stalking is unwanted, repeated, obsessive, and/or controlling behaviours that make someone very worried or scared. There are many ways stalking can happen. defines stalking as being followed or constantly harassed by another person.

The law states that harassment is when a person behaves in a way that will cause worry or panic. A stalker can be someone the victim or survivor knows well such as an ex-partner, or it can be a stranger. It can be the same type of behaviour or different types of behaviour every time.

Please note that this is not a complete list. There are significant crossovers in the types of abuse – for example, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour’-based violence are forms of domestic abuse. Anything within or amongst these definitions are worth raising concerns about, especially if you aren’t 100% sure or feel uncomfortable, triggered or weird.