W Bro John Little SLGR looks into the background


The charity AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) has developed a new tool to support children and young people (aged 7-11) who have experienced domestic abuse. This app called Helping Hand will enable the charity to provide crucial assistance and support, especially to help children deal with the trauma of their situation.

Funded with the assistance of a £59,500 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the tool is designed specifically for those children who suffer from an abusive situation. It is tailored to their needs and focuses on supporting their emotional wellbeing in the long term.

It will also give professionals an essential resource to assist them in their efforts to support children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Currently, the tools and services available for professionals are rarely designed for survivors. And for those that exist, they often come with a long waiting list or limited capacity. This new tool from AVA will help fill the gap by providing relevant resources as well as increasing knowledge in the sector, thus creating a wider network of opportunities for their service users.

The app will also become part of the professionals’ core CODA (Children Overcoming Domestic Abuse) service to enable follow-on support for the beneficiary in the long term.


AVA is a national charity with a clear vision for a world without gender-based violence. It works with survivors to champion evidence-based societal changes. Its activities include training, policy, research and consultancy and developing trauma-informed approaches to supporting survivors.


It was set up in 2010 to take forward the work of the Greater London Domestic Violence Project (GLDVP) by widening the scope of its work both geographically – from being focused on London to working across the UK – and thematically – from a focus on domestic violence to a wider focus on all forms of violence against women and girls.

The GLDVP itself was established in 1997, and its work within Greater London led to its recognition as a leader in the field of domestic violence work, including in schools and other youth settings – particularly with the establishment of the Ask AVA website, which helps schools and other youth settings develop a strategy against violence and abuse.

Commenting on the development of Helping Hand, Donna Covey CBE, CEO at AVA, said:

‘It is a sad fact that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Every year 400,000 women are sexually assaulted, and 80,000 women are raped. In addition, national statistics also suggest one in seven children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood.

‘Against this backdrop, we have come a long way since GLDVP started with one member of staff as part of the London Action Trust. Today we are a committed and hard-working team of 14 women.

‘AVA has built on the success of GLDVP’s achievement. We have since developed and implemented the first-ever London Domestic Violence Strategies (2001-04 and 2005-08), which put survivors’ voices and experience at the core of our work. We are now leading national experts, and our mission includes ensuring children and young people’s voices are heard in the development of NICE guidelines and improving housing options in our access to safe housing projects.

‘AVA is now a leading expert in the field of children and young people affected by gender-based violence and abuse, and our new Helping Hand app will further this work.

‘We are particularly grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for their generous donation, which has been of great assistance with the development of Helping Hand.’


This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 48 April 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 48 here.