illustration of of diverse women
illustration of of diverse women

6 organisations in the UK and Ireland working to support women affected by violence and abuse

Whether it’s someone to chat to, helping women escape abuse, or campaigning and training efforts, these organisations are all playing a vital role.

Abi Jackson
Monday 15 March 2021 11:34

The heart-breaking loss of Sarah Everard 33, who disappeared after walking home in South London, has led to an outpouring of grief, sadness and anger.

Since Sarah’s body was found last week and it was confirmed she’d been killed, the issue of women’s safety has been front and centre across headlines and social media. As well as shocking figures around the number of women who experience violence and abuse, many have shared in the sense of fear and vulnerability – and the clear message that enough is enough, and more needs to be done.

Whether you would like to learn more about organisations working to tackle domestic abuse and violence, are experiencing abuse and need help or support, or have been the victim of crime – whether recently or a long time ago – we’ve put together a list of six organisations…

1. Refuge (refuge.org.uk)

Refuge supports women and children affected by all forms of domestic abuse and violence. Whether people are looking for emotional support and advice, help with housing or refuge accommodation, dealing with the criminal justice system, through to rebuilding their life, Refuge aims to be there for anyone who needs them. They also run the free 24-hour Domestic Abuse Helpline (nationaldahelpline.org.uk; 0808 2000 247) and can help put people in touch with local services in their areas.

2. Women’s Aid (womensaid.org.uk)

Women’s Aid is another charity working to protect women and children from domestic abuse, by campaigning to improve how the government tackles its causes and consequences, supporting local services set up to help those affected by domestic abuse, and supporting survivors. They also do a lot of work around education and awareness, research and training for people who work in these areas. There are separate websites for Scottish Women’s Aid, Welsh Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid Republic of Ireland and Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland.

3. Safe Ireland (safeireland.ie)

Safe Ireland’s goal is to eliminate domestic abuse/violence in Ireland. The charity’s work focuses on research, informing policy, awareness, prevention and working with frontline services, however, their website is also a helpful resource with a ‘Get Help‘ page that includes a list of 38 domestic abuse services available in towns across Ireland.

4. SafeLives (safelives.org.uk)

This UK-wide charity is also dedicated to transforming the response to domestic abuse and violence by listening to survivors’ stories, delivering training, and working closely with partner agencies and organisations. They don’t offer a helpline or direct support for those affected by abuse, however, there’s lots of useful info on their website about their work, as well as an ‘Experiencing Abuse‘ page, with a list of other resources for accessing support.

5. Victim Support (victimsupport.org.uk)

Support can also be vital for women who have experienced violence or assault by strangers or other perpetrators too, which aren’t related to domestic abuse. Victim Support offers free and confidential support for people affected by all types of crime – not just violence and abuse – and anyone impacted can access their services. This can just be emotional support, as well as support and information for people dealing with the justice system. Their main website’s chat service and free 24-hour helpline (08 08 16 89 111) covers England and Wales, and there are links to local services here. There’s also Victim Support Scotland and Victim Support Northern Ireland.

6. Samaritans (samaritans.org)Again, Samaritans is not specific to women affected by abuse and violence – the charity and its helpline supports absolutely anybody needing free, confidential emotional support for any reason at all. However, it is useful to include here, as many women who experience violence, abuse or assault may not know where else to turn, especially if it doesn’t fall into domestic abuse, or it happened a long time ago.

There is no time limit on how long it takes to process these things, and many people may have found the news and social media activity very ‘triggering’ this week. Support is out there if you need to talk and Samaritans is there for free, 24 hours a day, every day (116 123). They also have a Welsh language line and there’s Samaritans Ireland.