Independent advocacy

If you are looking for advocacy and support to understand your rights, options and empower you to use your voice. This can be through support with a wide range of agencies including civil and criminal courts, housing, health and education.

Advocating for your rights.

Navigating the criminal justice system leaves most people feeling confused and disempowered. An independent advocate from Refuge can help you pursue justice and put the building blocks in place to begin a new life, free from fear.

Support through the justice system

It takes a huge amount of courage to bring a case against an abusive partner or ex-partner, and the legal system can be confusing, frightening or isolating. Our independent advocates provide expert guidance for survivors who are going through the civil and criminal courts to bring their abusers to justice.

  • Women who have reported incidents to the police may feel intimidated into withdrawing their support for the case
  • The idea of facing a perpetrator in court can be too much to bear, and often victims are not aware of their rights.

Spotlight on COVID-19 lockdown

When lockdown began, Annette* decided to stay in her home with her abusive partner. She was unable to escape to her mother’s house due to her mother being classed as ‘high risk’. We kept in touch with Annette by text and phone to make sure she was safe.

When Annette’s partner was furloughed, the emotional abuse became worse and more frequent.

In June, Annette* decided that she could not remain with her perpetrator any longer. She
asked for our help to identify injunctions and sever financial ties. We helped her find a solicitor who was still operating and explained the different injunctions that Annette could obtain to remove the abuser from the property.

Annette decided to pursue the injunctions, with emotional support and guidance from our outreach worker. With our support, Annette felt empowered to leave.

*All names have been changed to protect identity.


Support for young people

Young people who have experienced gender-based violence need specialised support tailored to their needs. Our youth advocates help young people at the point of crisis and work to increase their long-term safety. They also prevent future abuse through early intervention in cases where a young person may be at risk.

41% of UK girls ages 14-17 who reported an intimate relationship experienced some form of sexual violence from their partner.

More than 50% of young people have experienced controlling behaviour in relationships.

1 in 3 say that how a controlling partner had treated them prevented them living their life.

Our youth advocates also work with local schools, colleges and children’s social care to to get a full picture of the forms of violence that often affect young people. That includes child sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour’ based violence – which is violence usually inflicted by a victim’s family member or a close community member to restore the ‘honour’ of the family.