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 just under 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.
From making coercive and controlling behaviour a criminal offence, to making Relationships and Sex Education a mandatory part of the national curriculum from 2020. Here are just some of the things we’ve achieved.
Our training programme for the community, professionals and specialist services works to ensure that when survivors of domestic abuse speak out about domestic abuse, they get the right response first time.