Women's Aid announces four new trustees have been appointed to its board

Women’s Aid announces four new trustees have been appointed to its board

Today, Women’s Aid has announced that four new trustees have been appointed to its board.

Zlakha Ahmed, Executive Director of Apna Haq, Naomi Dickson, Chief Executive of Jewish Women’s Aid, Jo Gough, Chief Executive of RISE, and Sarah Hill, Chief Executive of IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) have been announced as the national domestic abuse charity’s board members.

The four new trustees, who lead Women’s Aid member domestic abuse services, will take up their positions on charity’s board from Thursday 18th October 2018.


Femi Otitoju and Mary Mason, co-chairs of Women’s Aid, said:

“We’re really excited that four great Trustees from member organisations are joining the Women’s Aid Board – bringing their rich and diverse experience to the leadership of Women’s Aid. We very much look forward to working with them.”


The trustees will help to steer the charity through a pivotal chapter as the government will be introducing its Domestic Abuse Bill in parliament and as the charity rolls out its pioneering Change that Lasts project.

Women’s Aid’s Change that Lasts project aims to ensure that no matter who a survivor speaks to about domestic abuse – whether someone in the community or a trusted professional – that she will be given the right response the first time she reaches out for help, and will be signposted to a specialist domestic abuse service at the earliest opportunity.

The project’s pioneering Ask Me scheme has recently secured further funding to be rolled out in new sites across the UK, in partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid, Welsh Women’s Aid and Women’s Aid Northern Ireland, to engage communities in transforming the response to domestic abuse.


Further information on the four new Women’s Aid trustees:

Zlakha Ahmed set up Apna Haq, the specialist BME service based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in 1996, which she has continued to manage full time ever since. Apna Haq supports black and minority ethnic women and girls who are experiencing any form of violence against women and girls. The survivor-led organisation has many years of experience in tackling the violence and abuse that BME women are disproportionately affected by and is also active in challenging racism and Islamophobia throughout society. In 2016, Zlakha was awarded an MBE for her outstanding services to the community.

Naomi Dickson has worked at Jewish Women’s Aid for over 18 years. She started out volunteering at the service before going on to become a refuge manager and then later communications co-ordinator at the service. Since 2014, she has been the specialist support service’s Chief Executive. Jewish Women’s Aid was set up over 25 years ago and is the only organisation in the UK working specifically to provide specialist support to Jewish women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The charity also works to raise awareness about violence against women and girls in the Jewish community.

Jo Gough is Chief Executive of RISE (Refuge, Information, Support and Education). She joined the Sussex-based charity as Head of Quality and Business Development in 2011, before becoming Chief Executive in 2017. RISE supports people affected by domestic abuse and violence, providing both crisis accommodation and community-based support. The charity’s LGB&T* service for survivors of domestic abuse was the first in England and they continue to provide one of the few dedicated LGBT refuge and support services in the country.

Sarah Hill is Chief Executive of IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services), a role she has held for nearly a decade. During this time, she has led the growth of the service from a small local organisation into the largest specialist domestic abuse support service in Yorkshire. IDAS started life as York Women’s Aid over 40 years ago and was one of the first refuges in the UK. Now the service provides both refuge and community-based support for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in various locations throughout Yorkshire.


If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.


For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]

 Notes to editors: 
  1. As a federation of over 180 organisation who provide local support services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse across England, we are constituted to have 60% of our trustees drawn from our member organisations. The Women’s Aid Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Women’s Aid, ensuring that the charity complies with all its legal and regulatory requirements and that the charity’s governance is of the highest possible standard. The diversity of the Board is currently reflected with representation from all sectors including voluntary management, legal and financial expertise, and equality and diversity professionals.  Just over half of the trustees are appointed from Women’s Aid members. As Women’s Aid is a Charitable Company, board members are Directors and Trustees of the Company: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/board-of-trustees/
  2. Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. Over the past 44 years, Women’s Aid has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice, research and policy. We empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of our work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs. We are a federation of over 180 organisations who provide just under 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services, and award a National Quality Mark for services which meet our quality standards. We hold the largest national data set on domestic abuse, and use research and evidence to inform all of our work. Our campaigns achieve change in policy, practice and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership with Refuge) and ­our range of online services, which include the Survivors’ Forum, help hundreds of thousands of women and children every year.

© 2022 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

Terms & conditionsPrivacy & cookie policyProtect yourself onlineMedia │ Jobs │ Accessibility Guide

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?