Services

We offer free and confidential specialist services for all Latin American women, including advice and counselling for women facing gender violence, and legal advice in welfare benefits, housing, debt, and employment rights, as well as integration activities and groups where you can meet other women in the community.

All of our services are delivered in Spanish and Portuguese and we offer free crèche support for women with children.

We give you the information, you make the decisions.

We provide advice, advocacy and support in Housing, Welfare Benefits and Money and Debts in person, over the phone and via email. We handle all cases in a holistic way to help you address your specific needs and assert your rights.

Housing issues

Situations like sleeping on a friend’s sofa or staying at a hostel, difficulties in securing suitable tenure, living in overcrowded accommodation, are all considered to be precarious living situations. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us or come to our drop-in sessions if you are in any of these positions. Depending on your case, social services may be able to provide different types of support. We can also help you deal with disrepair, infestation, evictions, over-crowdedness, disputes, or harassment.

Welfare benefits

If you are in need of financial help, depending on your personal and economic circumstances, you may qualify to access welfare support. Our team can assess and give you information about welfare benefits for you to make an informed decision. We can also help you apply for benefits, notify a change of circumstances, and better manage your finances.

Debt

Many women face large and multiple debts, including penalty fines and problems arising from pay-day loans taken to meet day to day living expenses. We can help you renegotiate debts, learn to manage your finances and gain budgeting skills.

To access information and advice on any of these services, you can contact us on our helpline:

0808 145 4909
Monday to Friday 11 AM – 1 PM

Employment rights violations can be varied. For example:
  • your employer may be refusing to pay you for hours you worked, or denying you your annual leave
  • they may be refusing to give you a written contract or payslips;
  • you may not be receiving holiday or sick pay;
  • you could be sexually harassed at work, discriminated against or bullied, verbally or physically abused;
  • you could be suffering injuries due to the nature of the work.

Although this is abusing your rights, it is unfortunately not uncommon.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, we can provide you with initial advice on how to proceed.

Call our helpline:
0808 145 4909
Monday to Friday 11 AM – 1 PM

We offer advice, advocacy and emotional and practical support to Latin American women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse/violence, sexual violence, harmful practices, stalking and harassment or any other form of gender-based violence. All women are entitled to have a life free of violence, therefore our aim is to prevent and tackle all forms of violence against women and girls.

Depending on your needs and priorities, we can connect you with relevant services in the UK, such as emergency accommodation, family and immigration solicitors, housing and benefits services, counselling, support groups, etc. Our service is tailored to you and to your needs.

If you are under threat or in danger, please call the police at 999.

You have a right to ask for an interpreter if you need one.

Always remember

Abuse is a crime, it’s not your fault and you are not alone. No matter what your immigration status is, you do not need to suffer in silence. We are here to help.

Our services are free, confidential and non-judgemental.

We help survivors to explore their options and choose the path that is right for them and that they are comfortable with, without exerting any influence or imposing any particular view.

What guides us:

  • To believe: we are here to listen to you and we will believe you.
  • Keep you safe: our aim is for you to be safe and we will work on this together.
  • Empowerment: we will support you as you learn more about your rights and give you the tools so that you can make an informed decision. We don’t make the decisions for you.
How to contact us
  • Call us on our helpline:
    0808 145 4909
    Monday to Friday 11 AM – 1 PM
  • Email us at referrals@lawrs.org.uk informing us your name, contact number and a safe time for us to call you back.
  • We take agency referrals. Please complete this form and send it to our team: referrals@lawrs.org.uk

We offer Latin American migrant women a safe and confidential space to find safety and rebuild their lives, through individual psychotherapy sessions in Spanish and Portuguese with a feminist and cultural sensitive approach.

If you think you could benefit from this service, the first step is to contact LAWRS to arrange an initial appointment. Here, you and the therapist will evaluate your needs and decide on a therapeutic plan. You may then be referred to a therapist on an ongoing basis.

 

How to contact us

Please note our waiting list is currently closed. We are only taking referrals from Westminster, Wandsworth and Newham.

LAWRS works in collaboration with law firms and other organisations to provide access to free initial legal advice, as well as access to tribunal on welfare cases.

Our family law and immigration law surgeries, ran in partnership with external solicitors, provide legal advice every two weeks. We provide interpreters in Spanish and Portuguese and crèche for women accessing this service.

 

Contact us

To receive more information or to book an appointment, email us at info@lawrs.org.uk or call our helpline on:

0808 145 4909
Monday to Friday 11 AM – 1 PM

Based in Southwark, but covering all of South London, this service helps Latin American women build life opportunities in their local area by providing information and tools that enable their development and integration.

We can help you with:
  • Local services, your rights to access them and how they work
  • Individual advice
  • Social activities, such as language practice activities and wellbeing activities for pregnant women and new mothers, to meet new people and integrate into the community
  • Workshops and initiatives to learn about life in the UK
  • Information on your rights and how to exercise them
LAWRS Southwark Office

ATD ForthWorld
48 Addington Square
London, SE5 7LB

07708 133886
outreach@lawrs.org.uk

Services in Southwark

The Language Café is an informal conversation course designed for Latin American women, with the aim of improving women’s language skills, fostering integration, building confidence, having fun and socialising.

It is complemented by an online English course, which is divided into six units with basic and vital information about everyday life in the UK. If for any reason you cannot participate in the Language Café sessions, the course materials are available for you to do on your own. You can explore the units, download the PDF classes and access to external links with videos, audios, etc.

Access our online course

If you are an EU citizen or the family member of one, you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021 to be able to remain in the UK after Brexit. LAWRS can assist you and your family members to complete this application until March 2021.

The process can take some time, so don’t wait for the deadline!

 

If you are European and work or have worked in the UK, you will need:
  • Passport or DNI (yours and your dependants’)
  • National Insurance Number
  • If you are applying for your child, you will need a birth certificate or family book
  • Email and mobile phone
  • If you have lived more than 5 years in the United Kingdom, proof of your residence (P45, P60, salary receipts, council tax)

We provide a créche service for all our activities, so that childcare responsibilities will not keep you from accessing our support.

 

Contact us
  • For some of them, you might need to book in advance.
  • Please call 020 7336 0888 and check
LAWRS Latin American Women's Rights Service About Us Creche

Social Change

We actively advocate for women’s rights, migrant’s rights and the rights of ethnic minorities at local, national and EU levels, working with sister organisations in the women and migrant sectors, as well as networks and campaigns, to tackle the vulnerabilities faced by Latin American women, who are affected by intersectional layers of discrimination. We also aim to achieve social change through key projects that bring together members of the community of different age groups for transformative and empowering work.

Women with insecure immigration status are frequently denied access to safety and justice and find themselves trapped in situations of violence, fearing being detained, deported or made destitute.

Responding to the multiple barriers that migrant survivors face when reporting domestic abuse, in 2017, we launched the Step Up Migrant Women campaign (SUMW). Supported by over 50 migrant, women’s and social justice organisations, we campaign and advocate for an end to data sharing between vital public services, including the police, and the Home Office to protect victims’ rights above immigration control.

In 2019, we published ‘The Right To Be Believed‘ report. Based on the experiences of more than 60 women, the report shows the damaging effects of the “hostile environment” data-sharing agreements. The report outlines the evidence base underpinning the campaign derived from research with migrant women who had experienced insecure immigration status and gender-based violence.

As part of our campaigning and advocacy work, we have closely worked with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs; the National Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird; the London Victims Commissioner, Claire Waxman, and different members of Parliament and other stakeholders and decision-makers.

We aim to bring together and put at the centre diverse voices from Black and Minority Ethnic and migrant women and organisations to challenge the barriers faced by women with insecure immigration status. Survivors have an active role in the campaign, participating in meetings and consultations with decision-makers and the production of campaign material, attending events, speaking at events, and featuring in media content.

Step Up Migrant WomenRead The Report

Due to a myriad of barriers, Latin American women in the UK tend to be employed in three key feminised labour sectors:

  • cleaning,
  • hospitality
  • and domestic work.

These are sectors characterised by low wages, lack of written contracts, unlawful deduction of wages and other violations, as the lack of understanding of their rights and the system in the UK by workers leads unscrupulous employers to abuse their position of power and exploit vulnerable workers.

At LAWRS, we advocate for the rights of Latin American and all migrant women experiencing labour exploitation and trafficking, flagging the need for appropriate enforcement of employment rights in low-paid jobs.

In 2019, we published our report ‘The Unheard Workforce: Experiences of Latin American migrant women in cleaning, hospitality and domestic work‘, which presents labour rights violations experienced by Latin American migrant women employed in these sectors drawing on 326 cases of women supported by our Employment Rights Advice Service.

This data supports our work to inform and influence government agencies, public bodies, stakeholders, private companies, and agencies to improve the exercise of migrant women worker’s labour rights. We actively engage in advocacy work with relevant stakeholders and decision makers, and participate in inquiries, academic research and reports, sharing the experiences of women working in precarious sectors and raising our voices against abuse and exploitation.

Following our principle of seeking the empowerment and participation of those directly affected, we created a Women Workers Group, with 50 women employed as cleaners and domestic workers. We run information sessions, workshops, and training to increase their ability to advocate for themselves. Members of this group participated as speakers in roundtables, conferences, academic publications and in the media, including a presentation to the Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Read The Report

WARMI is LAWRS’s grassroots Community Activist group, made up of diverse Latin American migrant womxn organisers and activists in London.

This project aims to centre the lived experience of women in our community as a powerful tool in the process of social change. Through diverse activities, spaces and opportunities of engagement, participants of this project self-organised and created the WARMI feminist collective.

If you are a Latin American woman seeking to fight against the hostile environment, all types of violence against women and labour exploitation, join us!

More About WARMI

Sin Fronteras (No Limits) is our project aimed at Latin American young women and girls aged 14 to 21.

We weave trust and mutual support into our work, valuing our diversity and raising our aspirations.

Through art, dance, music, and the creative arts, we strengthen our self-esteem, acquire skills and develop our potential. We take action to ensure our rights as immigrants are recognised, and fight for the empowerment of girls and young women, with No Limits.

We also support young girls and women to access education, health, welfare and other services.

More About Sin Fronteras

LAWRS’ Outreach in Southwark was created with the aim of being the first point of contact between Latin American women and services, agencies and organisations working in the borough, ensuring that their voices are heard by participating in forums, networks, meetings, etc.

We advocate for better provision and awareness of the local services available to Latin American women in South London, seeking to ensure that the needs of the community have a place on the local agenda.

LAWRS continues to convene CLAUK – the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK.

CLAUK is made up of 14 Latin American organisations, working jointly to pursue the recommendations of the No Longer Invisible (2011) and the Towards Visibility (2016) reports, both funded by Trust for London and conducted by Queen Mary University in partnership with LAWRS. The organisations work jointly to advocate for key issues affecting Latin Americans.

CLAUK achieved the official recognition of Latin Americans as a distinct ethnic group in Southwark (2012), Lambeth (2013), Hackney and Islington (2014), and by the GLA Group (2016), which includes the Greater London Authority, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Transport for London, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the London Legacy Development Corporation. We continue advocating and campaigning for recognition in Newham, Brent, Haringey and Wandsworth.

We also continue increasing our community’s political participation through voter registration campaigns for elections.

Visit CLAUK

We favour a collaborative approach and participate along with key stakeholders in relevant forums, networks and coalitions working at the local, national, and European levels.

We currently participate in the following groups and networks:

Learn about our past campaigns around women’s rights, migrant’s rights, and the rights of ethnic minorities in the UK.

Campaigns

Training & development

Decades of experience have taught us that education and training are key if we aim to increase awareness of women’s fundamental human rights, to end intersectional discrimination and eradicate violence against women and girls. We work on different projects to make this a reality.

This is an innovative partnership project with two fast-growing grassroots unions which represent migrant women workers in precarious employment, aimed at fostering their members’ empowerment and increase the unions’ capacity to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace.

It is also a learning experience for the three agencies and a chance to exchange skills and improve communication that will result in a collaborative solution to particular cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

We offer specialist training to professionals in different areas to increase awareness and understanding of VAWG and harmful practices, for better identifying and responding to this issue.

It is relevant to:

  • GPs
  • teachers
  • social workers
  • police
  • emergency services
  • safeguarding leads
  • housing staff
  • or any professionals interested in expanding their awareness on these relevant issues.
Increasing awareness of women’s fundamental human rights through education is central to our work.

We deliver a programme of activities for young people in primary and secondary schools and young centres in partnership with Tender.

Through this programme we work creatively in group workshops to encourage young people to develop healthy relationships, and provide specialist training to staff and resources for parents. These sessions provide them with a better understanding of the indicators of violence and abuse, and how to address them.

LAWRS Latin American Women's Rights Service Supporters Tender