Our Survivor Ambassador programme is designed to amplify the voices of survivors.
The experiences of our Survivor Ambassadors will add impact to our campaigns, help us to raise awareness of domestic abuse, and improve the support that Women’s Aid, and our member services, provide for survivors.
Through our Ambassadors’ experience, dedication, and passion, they will help us to ensure survivors’ are listened to, believed, and that responding to their needs is at the heart of everything we do.
Becky O’Brien, Survivor Ambassador
Becky O’Brien is a singer and a mum of five, who was a semi-finalist in Britain’s Got Talent 2015 and has used this platform to speak publicly about her experience as a survivor of domestic violence.
Becky spoke at the Women’s Aid National Conference in 2015, sharing her own experiences and highlighting the importance of educating young people about healthy relationships.
Saliha Rashid is a long time campaigner, working to bring vital change for disabled survivors. After growing up feeling trapped and isolated with a family who were abusive and controlling with the aim of protecting the family’s honour, Saliha has now built herself a successful and independent life free from abuse. Saliha says she shares her experience to make sure that the voices of disabled survivors are heard, and wants to increase awareness of how domestic abuse and honour-based violence affects disabled women as well as the additional barriers they face when escaping the abuse.
Mandy Thomas, Survivor Ambassador
Mandy Thomas is an author, poet, artist, photographer and survivor of domestic abuse. Mandy and her family accessed a number of refuges within the Women’s Aid national network.
Mandy says: “For me, having a network of refuges to go to was the difference between life and death. Domestic violence is not a one off event, it’s mental and physical torture that in many cases carries on for life, even once you have left the relationship. Without Women’s Aid, I would not be here today.”
Mandy has been campaigning and raising money for Women’s Aid since 2012 and is a regular speaker at our events. Today, she continues to raise awareness and her book, You Can’t Run, is a memoir of her own experiences of domestic abuse which she hope will help others in their fight.
Sadi Khan MBE, Survivor Ambassador
Sadi Khan is a Nottingham-born Kashmiri woman, who experienced domestic abuse following an arranged marriage at 19. She was physically, emotionally, and financially abused by her husband.
Worried telling her family would damage their reputation among their community, she survived for many years without support. She found the courage to divorce her husband and is now a strong, independent, businesswoman and the founder of Noble Khan Ltd , a cultural and religious awareness training company. She was awarded an MBE in 2018 for services to cultural religious training and services to vulnerable women.
Sadi won our Woman of the Year competition in 2011, after being nominated by her son. On winning the award, she said: “Your award made me feel proud of who I am and that I have a strength inside me that I had not realised. The awards made me see myself differently.”
Claire Throssell, Survivor Ambassador
Claire Throssell’s two sons, Jack, 12, and Paul, 9, were both killed by their father, despite her warnings that he was a danger to them. She has since campaigned tirelessly to stop unsafe child contact with dangerous perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Due to her commitment and resolve, family courts are safer – it’s now mandatory for the courts to determine whether children will be at risk of harm from a contact order, and perpetrators are no longer able to cross examine their victims in court.
She said: “I want to help other families going through the Family Courts and trying to escape domestic abuse. I want to ensure all children enjoy a safe future. Every child matters. It’s too late for my boys, but not too late for others.”
Natalie Curtis, Survivor Ambassador
Natalie is an inspiring and effective campaigner and activist who has worked with Women’s Aid for several years to help raise awareness of coercive control and it’s devastating impact.
Natalie was successful in securing an arrest, charge and conviction for coercive control after a six year relationship with a controlling and coercive partner. She credits the conviction and restraining order with allowing her time to heal and to rebuild her future.
Natalie says “The main reason for me to talk about what happened is I suffered so alone I became ill, and I don’t want people to get to that stage. Nobody is alone. There’s lots of support out there.”