Unfortunately with a succession of lockdowns violence at home has increased.

If you are affected please contact Iris for support.

Helpful leaflets

Domestic Abuse and Alcohol / Substance Misuse during the pandemic

Cross government definition of domestic abuse:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”

The definition includes ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Patients with substance misuse and alcohol problems are more vulnerable to domestic abuse and often find accessing support more difficult.

It became clear early in the pandemic that levels of domestic abuse were increasing, in particular during the lockdown.

  • Research by Counting Dead Women calculated at least 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children had taken place in the first three weeks of lockdown. This is double the average rate and the largest number of killings in a three-week period for a decade.
  • A large increase in calls to DVA helplines/webchat services and calls to Respect helpline from perpetrators.
  • Sharp rise in numbers of calls to Childline

The role of primary care in safeguarding at this time is to continue to recognise when children/adults/families are struggling or potentially suffering abuse or neglect, signpost to resources which can help, refer to other agencies as available and appropriate and support vulnerable patients where possible.”  RCGP: Covid-19 & Safeguarding Guidance (April 2020)

Always consider safety when conducting telephone / video consultations and ensure the entire practice team are aware of possible indicators of domestic abuse when a patient contacts the practice


IRIS project – this is the number 1 resource for practices in Tower Hamlets, any patient registered with a GP in Tower Hamlets can refer or be self referred:

020 3795 9222/074 8304 5748


IRIS training available for all practices, including training on aspects of managing domestic abuse during the pandemic – FIND OUT IF YOUR PRACTICE HAS BEEN IRIS TRAINED AND IF NOT, or if you are not sure, CONTACT THE IRIS TEAM (details above) OR CONTACT Kirsten.shirke@nhs.net (IRIS Clinical Lead and GP at the Limehouse Practice)

Tower Hamlets VAWG (violence against women and girls) provides an online directory of services in the borough:


Wiser Project: intense support for multiply disadvantaged women (leaflet attached) – high level support for women with domestic abuse, mental health concerns and substance misuse, no current funding to accept new referrals unfortunately but leaflet attached in case this changes in the near future

Maa Shanti – support for single Asian mums – info@maashanti.org 020 7700 0675 – leaflet attached

Other national resources:

  • 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
  • Men’s Advice Line – 0808 8010327
  • Respect – 0808 802 4040
  • Galop LGBT Helpline – 0800 999 5428
  • Karma Nirvana - Helpline for ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247

Women’s Aid Live Chat: available Monday-Friday, 10:00-12:00, https://chat.womensaid.org.uk

Written guidance in a range of languages:

The Home Office has created domestic abuse guidance in Bengali, Somali, Mandarin and other languages. The guidance explains how to recognise and report domestic abuse and where victims and perpetrators can access support. This is important for Tower Hamlets as a number of our domestic homicide victims have been non-English speakers.

Links to the guidance:

Other languages are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-abuse-get-help-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-translations

The English version is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=23104aa6-6d63-445c-af9b-1d10f9e7d561&utm_content=daily#coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse