WHO WE ARE Advance

We are a women-only organisation, providing emotional and practical support to women in London. All our services are free and confidential.
A large part of our work is crisis intervention – for women who require urgent help and face imminent danger.

We are domestic violence support specialists

From advice on how to avoid being followed, to help making a report to the police, our specialist staff can help with whatever support women need. We can even accompany women to court hearings for moral support and advice on options such as injunctions, non-molestation orders and issues around contact for any children involved. Our team is also based at police stations, in hospitals, a housing office and within a team of social workers in Hammersmith, so that we are best placed to reach and support women affected by domestic violence wherever they are. For more information about our domestic violence services click here. Many women come to us directly from front line services, such as medical staff or police, but anyone can make a referral. If you or someone you know would like Advance’s help please visit our how to refer page


Are you worried about your safety?
Scared of someone hurting or controlling you?
CLICK HERE to get free and confidential help now.
You can also call us on 020 8741 7008

Get help
Advance charity

The Advance Charity ANNUAL REPORT 2017-18

Click here to download

“I can’t speak highly enough about Advance. If I needed any help I was always able to call you. For those people who don’t have family support it must be a god send.”

We are experts in helping women who have committed crime

Our support for women who have committed crime is aimed at helping them rebuild their lives and reduce their risk of re-offending. This service is delivered by a highly-skilled team who provide a range of services, from visiting women in prison and finding housing and furniture for those coming up for release, to arranging counselling sessions and addressing substance misuse issues after release. Many rehabilitative services are provided from our Minerva centre, a safe, woman-only space where women can share their story and get the support they need.

For more information about our services for women who have committed crime click here. Many women come to us directly from the police, prison and probation services. At present women cannot refer themselves to us. For information about other available support, please see our advice page.


Our Minerva Project accepts referrals from a variety of sources for women aged 18+ who have been involved in the criminal justice system across  London Boroughs.

More information


Our trustees

Christine Losecaat MBE (Chair)
Christine joined Advance as a Trustee in 2012 and become Chair in 2017. Christine is an internationally experienced senior business strategy, marketing and communications specialist and leadership coach. As CEO of consultancy, Little Dipper, she conceives and delivers innovative and award-winning international strategies, initiatives, programmes and events for clients in the public and private sector. Christine is an Emmy® award winning producer, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, an Honorary Fellow of the British Institute of Interior Design and in 2016 was awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the creative industries in the UK.

Helen Arbon (Chair Finance & Future Funding Committee)
Helen is an experienced career diplomat working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Throughout her many years of work in the FCO, she has often worked on the frontline of delivering consular services to vulnerable British nationals working, living, studying or travelling abroad. In the last 10 years or so, she has also led teams working in challenging environments across diverse regions of the world – most recently as the regional Consular Director across the Sub-Saharan Africa region. In her last overseas role, she led and advised teams working with customers facing difficult circumstances overseas – from forced marriage and FGM to assisting victims of crime and helping those detained abroad.

Vanessa Challess
Vanessa qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and specialised in commercial litigation including a wide variety of contractual disputes, real and intellectual property and defamation matters.  She founded her own law firm Tiger Law in 2017 and focuses on looking after owner managers holistically from start-ups to multi-generation companies with an eye on preventing disputes and protecting her clients’ hard work for the long term.  Vanessa provides training on contracts from the basics to negotiation tactics as part of the firm’s ethos to empower clients to protect themselves.  To complement the legal practice offered by her team, she also founded a standalone HR consultancy, Tiger HR, which supports employers on day to day HR functions all the way through to change management and HR training.

Dr Carole Easton OBE
Dr Carole Easton OBE is Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust, the charity supporting and representing young women at risk of lifelong financial disadvantage.  She has extensive experience of charity leadership, having been Chief Executive at Cruse Bereavement Care, ChildLine and CLICSargent.  As an independent consultant she advises on senior team, board and organisational development, both in the UK and overseas.  Until recently Carole was Chair of Young Minds, (the young people’s mental health charity) and Trustee and Chair of the Services Committee at DepaulUK (youth homelessness).

Louise Finer
Louise is currently Senior Policy Officer and National Preventive Mechanism Coordinator at HM Inspectorate of Prisons (London). She has worked in a range of roles, mainly in the NGO sector, in which she has concentrated on addressing issues that put women and girls at risk and disadvantage. In particular, she has focussed on research and advocacy around women’s rights in a number of countries, including sexual and reproductive rights. For the last three years she has been employed as the Senior Policy Officer at HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Co-ordinator of the UK National Preventive Mechanism, where she has worked to strengthen protections for people who are vulnerable by virtue of the fact that they are in detention. This includes women detained in prison, police custody and in mental health detention, and children in and out of the criminal justice system.

Anita Hamilton
Anita Hamilton is a Communications, Marketing and PR consultant with more than 25 years’ experience working with some of the world’s top brands. Anita has extensive media experience, including senior roles with Planet 24 (programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4), Capital Radio and LBC Radio. Having started her career at Marks & Spencer, Anita moved to Express Newspapers. Other roles include Commercial Director for UBC media (now 7Digital) and, more recently, Director of PR & Marketing at CTN Communications, where she worked with clients including GSK, Standard Chartered, the London Stock Exchange and Royal Navy. Anita currently advises the Central School of Ballet alongside other arts and education organisations.  Anita runs programmes on leadership communications and organisational change and is a mentor for aspiring women leaders at the London School of Economics.  Anita has Masters in Organisational and Social Psychology from LSE.

Swatee Jasoria
Swatee is a US qualified lawyer and mostly practices IP/Commercial law. She is currently converting her qualification to a UK recognised qualification. She came to London from New York City four years ago to co-found the first liberal-arts inspired undergraduate educational business in the UK called New College of the Humanities (“NCH”). Swatee is also Events Co-director of American Women Lawyers in London.

Emily Midwood
Emily currently works in the Corporate Strategy department of a global bank. Her previous experience includes working in the Strategy, Operations and Human Resources functions of banks and other companies. Emily also spent part of her career as a management consultant working on mergers and acquisitions.

Christine Mullin (Treasurer)
Christine is a CFO/COO predominantly working in the media and technology sectors. She is currently focusing her time investing in and mentoring London based technology companies.

Kate Parsley
Kate is a public health expert with almost 20 years experience, including work in 16 boroughs of London including local government, the NHS and voluntary sector as well as internationally in Zimbabwe and Uganda. Most of Kate’s previous roles have involved work around early years, family support, domestic violence, FGM, CSE, crime and mental health. Kate currently leads the healthcare public health team in 2 London boroughs, focussing on long-term conditions, primary care services, clinical governance and quality assurance. She has passion and interest in sexual health, young people and women’s rights and was formerly a trustee for the Young Women’s Hub, based in Lewisham

Tallulah Perez-Sphar
Tallulah currently works at the Department for Work and Pensions and has a background in external communications, across government and within the charity sector. Alongside this, she has volunteered for a domestic violence charity based in Southwark before joining the board at Advance.

Pria Rai (Chair of Governance, Risk and HR Committee)
Pria is currently Director of People Services and Communications at a south London based housing association which is stakeholder led. Her professional interest lies in developing organisational capacity and systems in the third sector. One of her previous roles was Director of Human Resources at New York’s largest and leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence.

Maria Sookias
Maria is currently Head of Operations at the nia Project where she leads the development and delivery of the Huggett Women’s Centre, a safe and accessible space for women and girls who face multiple and complex disadvantages in particular those relating to domestic abuse, sexual violence and exploitation. Her role includes taking responsibility for the day to day delivery of services at the Centre; developing and building partnerships locally, regionally and nationally with stakeholders including funders and commissioners, statutory and third sector organisations and ensuring that service user participation is at the heart of project delivery and incorporated into strategic development. She has spent the majority of her working life supporting survivors of domestic abuse and more broadly, working to end violence against women and girls.

Our staff structure

Due to the nature of female domestic violence and of female crime, we feel that this structure with an all-female staff gives our female service users the most comfortable environment to seek the help they need.

Advance charity

“Advance was instrumental in helping keep me safe and I began to feel less worthless and took control of my life.  It’s been a long journey, but I am stronger now and have the confidence to work with others, and although it was very tough, I like who I am today!”