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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do?
What languages are available at the centre?
Do you only help women?
Can you only take on cases from Southall?
Do I have to pay anything?
Do I need an appointment?
Do you give legal advice?
Are you a refuge?
Can you give financial help?
What are your opening hours?

Other services
Do you prepare expert reports?
Do you provide training?
Are you available to give public talks on your work?
Do you provide interpreting and translating services?

Supporting Southall Black Sisters
How can I volunteer?
How can I make a donation?
How else can I support the work of Southall Black Sisters?

What do you do?

Southall Black Sisters provides information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence. Our holistic services aim to help them escape violence and abuse and deal with a range of interrelated problems such as:

  • Forced marriage
  • Honour crimes
  • Rape and sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Dowry related abuse
  • Matrimonial issues
  • Child residence and contact
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Immigration and asylum
  • Depression, mental health, suicide and self harm
  • Policing and crime
  • Suspicious deaths and coroners’ inquests
  • Civil actions
  • Human rights
  • Racism

We do not provide advice on housing, benefits or immigration issues unless there are connected to domestic violence or sexual violence issues.

See our Services page for detailed information.

What languages are available at the centre?

We provide our services in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu. Interpreters for other languages can be hired.

Do you only help women?

We provide support and advice not only to female victims of domestic violence but also their children, whether they are male or female. See our services page for the services available for children. We can also provide advice and support to friends and relatives who are attempting to assist a woman or child experiencing violence and abuse, or following death in murder and suicide cases. We do not provide help to male victims of violence – we would normally refer them to other agencies for assistance.

Can you only take on cases from Southall?

We normally take on cases within the London Borough of Ealing. This includes: Southall, Ealing, Greenford, Northolt and Acton. We will provide one-off telephone advice and refer you to appropriate agencies and occasionally take on cases outside the borough, resources permitting, such as women who are detained in prison.

Do I have to pay anything?

No, there is no charge for service users. However, we may charge fees for expert reports, training sessions etc.

Do I need an appointment?

Usually we prefer clients to call and make an appointment as there may not be any caseworkers free to help you straight away. If you come to the Centre without an appointment we may have to ask you to come back later, but we will try and see you if there is an emergency.

Do you give legal advice?

Our caseworkers are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner and can provide initial advice on immigration and asylum issues. However, we do not prepare applications or appeals and we will always advise you to find an immigration advisor if you have an immigration or asylum problem.

We can give initial advice on issues such as applying for injunctions, maintenance and financial matters, divorce and children related problems, housing and benefits. However after an initial assessment we will always refer you or advise you to find your own legal advisor. If we take on your case, and depending on resources, we can accompany you to appointments with your legal advisor and to court hearings, and work in partnership with your lawyers to prepare applications and appeals.

Are you a refuge?

No. We do not provide any emergency accommodation. We can refer you to refuges or help you to find a refuge.

Can you give financial help?

No. However, we may be able to advise on sources of financial assistance.

What are your opening hours?

Our office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, to Friday. If we have already taken on your case we will work on your case after office hours if required. Our phone lines are very busy, and often caseworkers are meeting with clients in the office or are out on appointments. If you are unable to speak to a caseworker when you call, please leave a message at reception and a caseworker will get back to you.

Other services

Do you prepare expert reports?

We provide expert reports and support letters to legal and welfare advisors on issues affecting black and minority ethnic women experiencing domestic violence. These covers issues such as the impact of domestic violence and religious and cultural pressures on victims. We normally only provide letters and reports for our clients, but please check if you need a report for a non-client. Advisors should contact Southall Black Sisters to check fees and capacity.

Also see publications and briefings which can be downloaded free or purchased.

Do you provide training?

We can provide training to statutory, voluntary and private sector bodies. In the past we have provided training to the police, social workers, lawyers, health professionals, refuge workers, magistrates and judges etc. Organisations should contact Southall Black Sisters regarding availability and fees.

Are you available to give public talks on your work?

Yes, if one of the staff members or management committee is available. We give talks about our work and the issues we deal with to other organisations, conferences, schools and colleges etc. Please contact us as far in advance as possible if you would like us to attend a particular event.

Do you provide interpreting and translating services?

We only provide interpreting and translation services for our clients.

Supporting Southall Black Sisters

How can I volunteer?

Volunteering for SBS is dependent on type of work required and level of supervision and support available.

How can I make a donation?

You can send a cheque made payable to Southall Black Sisters or contact us for alternative means of payment.

How else can I support the work of Southall Black Sisters?

You can support the work of Southall Black Sisters by getting involved in our campaigns. As part of our campaigning work we organise demonstrations, public meetings and letter writing. If you are interested in getting involved, please check our campaigning and events section.