Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited Black Country Women’s Aid refuge in Sandwell on 28th October to hear about the experiences of women who have fled domestic abuse and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence.
The Home Secretary had a guided tour of the refuge led by Executive Director Sara Ward, meeting women and children living there, and hearing from staff about Black Country Women’s Aid’s work supporting victims of abuse across the region.
They were also joined by Sandwell Council’s Domestic Abuse Manager, Maryrose Lappin, who spoke about the strong partnership work between the Council and Black Country Women’s Aid which helps to support victims of abuse and keep them safe.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
“I was inspired to hear firsthand about the fantastic work Black Country Women’s Aid are doing to support the victims of these appalling crimes.
“This Government has created a new offence that captures coercive and controlling behaviour and rolled out new ways of protecting the victims of domestic violence through Clare’s Law and Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
“We have also taken a range of action to provide support and protection for survivors and potential victims of so-called ‘honour-based violence’, including significantly strengthening the law in relation to the specific offences of FGM and forced marriage.
“Progress is being made and we are seeing more victims coming forward, but more must be done. We will continue to work with partners, including Women’s Aid, to ensure victims are identified and supported.”
Black Country Women’s Aid Executive Director Sara Ward said:
“We were very pleased that our growing national reputation led the Home Secretary to visit us especially in this exciting year when we are changing our name from Sandwell Women’s Aid to Black Country Women’s Aid. She was very interested in hearing about the women’s experiences and finding out about our work across Sandwell and the Black Country.
“We have worked hard, alongside local authority partners, to develop high-quality services which offer victims the right support at the right time, enabling them to recover and rebuild their lives. We feel there is some really good work happening in Sandwell, with more services available for victims of abuse than ever before.
“We were glad to have the opportunity to discuss this with the Home Secretary, as well as some of the challenges of safeguarding services for victims.”
Black Country Women’s Aid is the new name of Sandwell Women’s Aid, which was first established 30 years ago in Sandwell, as local women set up a refuge to give safe shelter to women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
Over the years, the charity has grown and now offers a huge range of services which support over 9000 people every year across Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. This includes support for women, children and men who have experienced domestic abuse, rape and sexual violence, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Domestic abuse is a serious crime, which is not just about physical violence, but can include coercive control, psychological manipulation, sexual abuse, financial abuse, harassment and stalking. If you feel scared of your partner or someone at home because of things that they say and do, you can call Black Country Women’s Aid for confidential advice and support on 0121 552 6448.