Women’s Aid was founded in 1974, or as we were then known, the National Women’s Aid Federation. We brought together nearly 40 independent refuge services and for the first time created a national network, which enabled women and children experiencing violence and fear in the home to travel across the country to a place of safety. We also started to campaign for new laws and policies to protect women and children living with domestic abuse.
Our roots are in the women’s rights’ movement, and the organisation is run by women for abused women and their children. We are proud to have been at the forefront of key achievements that have increased legal protection for survivors and we have also raised public awareness of domestic violence and the sexism is society that means that such abuse is minimised, ignored or misunderstood.
Women’s Aid today
While we can celebrate many achievements, it is a challenging time for our national network of services – now 180 organisations running 300 services. Funding cuts, competitive tendering, and austerity have seen specialist domestic abuse services close in recent years. However, we continue to campaign and work with government to find realistic solutions in tough times.
We have come a long way but we know we still have a long way to go until domestic abuse no longer exists in our society and there is consistent understanding of what a healthy relationship is. Our Change that Lasts approach engages with communities to make a real change to the way that we respond to domestic abuse, keeping survivors’ needs at the heart of our response. With your help and support, we can not only provide direct services to survivors, but educate, campaign and communicate why we all need to work together to end domestic abuse.