As part of our UK programmes framework, we’re striving to ensure that women are empowered to be able to lead safe, independent and fulfilling lives.

Advance: Offering Survivors Critical Care

Across English and Wales, over 1.3 million women are affected by domestic abuse a year. Sadly, this is not an uncommon phenomenon. With a 23% increase in the number of people affected in our towns and cities, more and more women across the UK are suffering from intimate partner violence. For those who’ve survived and are looking to rebuild their lives, being able to access a range of holistic care is crucial for their emotional, physical, financial and social wellbeing. Without the right support, daily life can be immensely challenging and the future bleak for those struggling with their mental health, financial worries or the fear of repercussions from their (former) partner.

When our project partners Advance – a London-based organisation specialised in providing dedicated one-to-one support for survivors of domestic violence – met Amber*, she had been referred by hospital staff after being physically abused and threatened by her husband in front of their young children.

After longstanding physical and sexual abuse by her husband, Amber was wishing to reconcile with her husband as she was concerned about the potential escalation of abuse post-separation. With specialised advice and consultations, the team was able to help her to better understand the risk to her children and to build dialogue to enable Amber to understand her legal rights.

To ensure the woman and her children are now safe, Advance is putting together a plan to support Amber and the family. Amber’s emotional wellbeing has significantly improved, along with her self-esteem. Thanks to the support Amber has received, she’s gained a greater sense of independence and confidence about reporting any further incidences to the police.

With a newly created role of specialist domestic abuse support worker with an elevated understanding of health and safeguarding, staff can work efficiently with and liaise with specialist agencies and advocate of behalf of women in need . For women such as Amber who have been affected by domestic violence, this means referrals to specialists can be made more quickly and efficiently, ensuring that women in need of support can get the right level of health care they need.

“We’re working with Advance to empower female survivors of domestic violence to face a brighter and safer future.” (Sara Caggiati, UK Domestic Programmes Coordinator).

Giving critical advice and support, by referring clients to health services, liaising with the police and providing critical legal representation, this project is fundamental in supporting survivors of domestic abuse in the best way possible.

*Name has been changed to protect the family’s identity

Future Skills: Vocational Training, Mentoring and Support for Disadvantaged Women

Unemployed women living in poverty face a myriad of challenges finding secure and appropriately paid employment. Following Oxfam’s successful pilot of the Future Skills project in Manchester, Islamic Relief is now working in partnership with Oxfam to expand the initiative across the UK. The second phase of this project is designed to up-skill refugee and migrant women based in London who are in real need of work to support themselves and their families.

The Future Skills project includes:

  • A tailored volunteer placement in an Oxfam shop for a minimum of eight hours a week for six months
  • In-shop training on retail management, customer service, inventory control and other transferable skills
  • Mentoring by qualified independent mentors and additional peer-to-peer networking and support
  • Personal development and employability workshops
  • Assistance to overcome barriers to engagement including child care provision

Through the support of the programme, participating women have gained solid work experience, boosted their self-confidence and received crucial training and advice to help them find appropriate work following the six-month placement.

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