Women’s Aid responds to allegations of institutional racism in member organisation
12th July 2021
Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Yesterday we became aware of allegations of institutional racism in one of our member organisations. We place our ambition to be anti-racist at the heart of everything we do and we stand in solidarity with those women and every woman that has ever experienced racism.
As a membership organisation that has anti-racism as part of our Quality Standards, we take these allegations very seriously. Structural racism in society continues to impact Black and minoritised women in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector. It affects organisations, staff and survivors.
Since joining Women’s Aid in March, I have been looking at how we approach our work in this area, clarifying our values, intent and understanding, as well as how we ensure holders of Women’s Aid quality standards are upheld. If we receive a complaint about a Quality Standards holder, or we have reason to believe that a member may have acted in conflict with the standards, we can investigate this using our Quality Mark complaints procedure. Today we have approached Solace Women’s Aid to begin the process of fact finding and gathering evidence with regard to a possible breach of standards.
The allegations made in the media reporting on this issue are not new and have been repeatedly raised by Black and minoritised women within the VAWG sector for many years. During 2020 a VAWG sector Anti-Racism Working Group formed to produce a charter for ending structural racism within our workplaces.
Women’s Aid has been part of this work and is committed to implementing the standards and actions set out within the charter to ensure all Black and minoritised women in our movement are treated equally and with respect.
A key part of this is holding our own organisation to the same scrutiny and committing to fundamental change. As part of this commitment we are establishing a new anti-racism structure to work towards change, as well as a full independent audit of our organisation. We know that we, alongside other white-majority organisations in the wider VAWG movement, must recognise and respond to our failures to tackle racism and inequality in our own organisation. We all have work to do as a sector and everyone has a role to play.”