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Latin American Women’s Aid runs the only refuges in Europe and in the UK by and for Latin American women and children fleeing gender-based violence. We also provide advice and support services.

You can call us at 020 7275 0321 or chat with us through the online chat using the chat icon on the right low side if this is safe for you. If it is not safe to speak or text, here you can find tools that will help you to stay safer at home:

10 Steps to do at home

Contact and additional tools

Access to benefits and non Domestic Violence support - Drop in service

Are you experiencing violence?

  • Is your partner excessively jealous and possessive?
  • Do they have sudden changes of mood? Do they treat you affectionately and abuse you later on?
  • Do they forbid you from seeing your friends and family?
  • Do they forbid you to study English or work outside of the house?
  • Do they threaten to report you to immigration control if you leave him?
  • Do they constantly criticize and put you down in public? Do they tell you that you’re useless or that they cannot put up with you?
  • Do they control your money?
  • Do they tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, or what to think?
  • Do they force you to have sex even when you have said no?
  • Do you act in a “more careful” way to prevent your partner from getting angry?
  • Has your partner ever threatened you or intimidated you? Have they used violent language or damaged the furniture, and the walls in anger?
  • Do you feel forced to alter your behaviour because you are frightened of your partner’s reaction?
  • Does your partner blame you for their behaviour? For example, do they say you were “asking for it” or that you deserved the abuse?
If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then you may be experiencing domestic violence. We promise you that it is NOT your fault and that you can seek help so you don’t have to go through this situation alone.

There are many forms of violence and we want to help you identifying if you’re experiencing it at home CLICK HERE to find more about different forms of violence:

physical abuse:
This is the use of physical force against another person in a way that ends up injuring the person or puts the person at risk of being injured. Physical abuse ranges from physical restraint to murder. Physical assault or physical battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside a family or outside the family.

Verbal or nonverbal abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse)
Mental, psychological, or emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal or nonverbal abuse of a spouse or intimate partner consists of more subtle actions or behaviors than physical abuse. While physical abuse might seem worse, the scars of verbal and emotional abuse are deep.

sexual abuse
Sexual abuse often is linked to physical abuse; they may occur together, or the sexual abuse may occur after about of physical abuse. It includes non-consensual intercourse, even if married, forcing you to look at pornography or limiting/controlling your reproductive choices.

stalking or cyberstalking
Stalking is harassment of or threatening another person, especially in a way that haunts the person physically or emotionally in a repetitive and devious manner. Stalking of an intimate partner can take place during the relationship, with intense monitoring of the partner’s activities, or it can take place after a partner or spouse has left the relationship. The stalker may be trying to get their partner back, or they may wish to harm their partner as punishment for their departure. Regardless of the fine details, the victim fears for their safety. Stalking can take place at or near the victim’s home, near or in their workplace, on the way to the store or another destination, or on the Internet (cyberstalking). Stalking can be on the phone, in person, or online.

economic abuse or financial abuse
It can include withholding economic resources such as money or credit cards, stealing from or defrauding a partner of money or assets, exploiting the intimate partner’s resources for personal gain, withholding physical resources such as food, clothes, necessary medications, or shelter from a partner, preventing the spouse or intimate partner from working or choosing an occupation.

spiritual abuse
It can include using the spouse’s or intimate partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate them, preventing the partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs, ridiculing the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs or forcing the children to be reared in a faith that the partner has not agreed to.

At LAWA we offer you the following services:


Learn more

Established in the United Kingdom since 1987, LAWA’s refuges are safe homes for Latin American, and Black and Minority Ethnic women who are fleeing gender violence, in particular domestic violence.
We run two refuges, Chia house and Mawu house, in confidential locations. They are both only for Black and Minority Ethnic women and children, providing a safe space for recovery and growth with a friendly and professional staff team. Through a holistic and person-centred approach we offer individually tailored emotional and practical support plans according to each woman and child’s intersectional needs. Our refuges are spaces for new beginnings, hope and healing.

Call us or come to our offices if you are seeking for a refuge space.

Advice and support

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Our advice and support centre offers information, advocacy and support to Latin American and BME women, in particular but not limited to survivors of gender based violence. Through one-to-one appointments, drop-in days, telephone advice, in-house surgeries and outreach points we offer advice and support in a wide range of areas. This includes domestic violence and other gendered forms of violence; immigration and family law; welfare benefits advice; housing and emergency accommodation; child support; career and employment advice; skills development and community integration.
To access this service, you can call book an appointment online.


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Domestic violence is a very traumatic experience that can leave us with emotional scars, confused feelings, fears, memories, and damaged self-esteem. Having a space to talk about that experience with a professional counsellor can be healing.
LAWA’s in house counselling service provides psychotherapy support in Portuguese, Spanish and English. We adopt a culturally sensitive, trauma focused approach that supports women to recover their mental and emotional health and general wellbeing. Ultimately, our counselling aims to empower women to recover their self-confidence and take control over their own lives. Counselling sessions are free and individual. They provide a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment for you to express and reflect on your problems, the suffering that violence has left in your life and those around you. To access this service, please contact us through our advice and support centre.

English lessons

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In partnership with English for Action, LAWA offers English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes to Latin American and BME women, helping them to overcome such barrier to inclusion. Every Wednesday and Thursday we offer English lessons from 5:00pm-7:00pm – beginner, elementary and intermediate levels. All you have to do is come on either of those two days and sign up with the English teacher, who will evaluate the level that best suits your needs.
We also run a crèche service during English classes to enable mothers to attend classes. Both services are completely free of charge.

Benefits and non Domestic Violence support - Drop in service

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If you need support with any issue NOT related to Domestic Violence, please use the online chat or call us to help you book an appointment. We run this service only on Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and have a weekly capacity of 15 appointments. You can choose between phone or face-to-face appointments.

At LAWA, we offer support with issues related to employment, housing, education, and benefits.

If your case is related to Domestic Violence or any other form of violence against women, please call us on 020 7275 0321 or use our online chat.

Change Maker Programme

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Our Change Maker Programme is an intersectional and intergenerational feminist space for Latin Americans and BME women to meet, learn and grow together. The project has been designed to address themes such as gender inequalities and intersectionality; violence against women and girls; sisterhood and self-care; ecofeminism; migration, diaspora and racial identities; sexual diversity; spirituality and resilience; and migrant women’s involvement in community struggles.

Based on theoretical frameworks of black intersectional feminism and Latin American Communitarian Feminism and using popular education methodologies (See; Judge; and Act) the program encompasses workshops, alternated with outings, and group attendance to community events and actions. Some workshops are foreseen to be co-delivered by participants to foster peer-to-peer support and empower them to become multipliers. In addition to creating a safe space to share personal experiences, the programme promotes a culture of solidarity, sisterhood, personal and collective empowerment which ultimately lead women to become change makers.

For more information about our programme, contact Daniela Cardona, our Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator, at the following email address [email protected].

Immigration Advice

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We provide immigration support to Latin American and other Black and Minoritised Women survivors of gender-based violence who need immigration advice as part of their case.
Additionally, we also run an appointment system for general immigration enquires, such as: applications for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain; basic applications that are within the Immigration Rules; Basic applications for nationality and citizenship under the UK Law; settlement and pre-settlement applications among others.
You can use our online system to book an appointment:

Children and Young People services

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We offer specialized services for BME children and young people at the refuge. Our Children and family support worker runs weekly activities to encourage their recovery and the reestablishment of the relationship with their mothers after living or witnessing traumatic violent experiences.

We also provide specialized counselling services for children in their own language.

“Staying at the refuge was the first step to a better personal wellbeing”
- Service User
“I am a changed woman now who no longer lives in fear. I feel a lot more confident.”
- Service User