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Live webchat with Women's Aid about the impact of cuts on vulnerable women and children, Thursday 13 December, 1.30pm

(70 Posts)
AlexMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Dec-12 13:11:27


This year, we're going to be featuring the 'Saving Survivors' Services' campaign from Women's Aid over the Christmas period.

As many of you will know, Women's Aid is a national domestic violence charity, which helps up to 250,000 women and children every year, and supports over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact cuts and welfare reform will have on vulnerable women and children.

A recent survey of their member organisations revealed that 1 in 5 is facing financial difficulties that will result in the reduction or loss of local refuge services.

Their Policy and Services manager, Deborah McIlveen, will be answering general questions on domestic violence, on Women?s Aid work in protecting women and children, what funding cuts mean for services, and how Mumsnet members can help to protect them.

So please join us here on Thursday 13th Dec at 1.30pm for the chat. If you can't make it then, as ever, please post up your advance questions here.


flippinada Tue 11-Dec-12 19:49:57

What a great idea for a webchat

I've got a couple of questions. What can I do on a local level to help

flippinada Tue 11-Dec-12 19:53:21

Sorry, pressed send too soon.

As above, plus - I have stuff which us like to donate, what sort of things are useful/what's not needed?

Also, are there any volunteering opportunities or other ways I could help?


LineRunner Wed 12-Dec-12 17:50:42

Sorry I'll miss this but I'll be at work. I think you all do a tremendous job, and thank you so much for that.

How do keep the addresses of refuges a secret?

(And would also like to know what are the best things to donate.)

LineRunner Wed 12-Dec-12 17:51:41

Sorry, that should read:

How do you keep the locations of refuges a secret?

elfbambinos Wed 12-Dec-12 17:52:53

I'd second flippanda , what can I do do help

Is this an appeal for funds?

Personally I feel Womens aid is one of the most 'deserving' causes in the UK.

Where does the funding come from it gov't baed, national lottery based

I'd like to help and will join the chat tomorrow

LineRunner Wed 12-Dec-12 17:57:14

I think if funding comes through local government - facing a cut of 28% across the board thanks to Eric Pickles - then that will mean bleak days ahead.

elfbambinos Wed 12-Dec-12 18:05:44

Eric Pickles has a questionable past no?

flippinada Wed 12-Dec-12 19:43:19

Yes sorry forgot to say that I can't be here as I'll be at work.

And only a few queries so far - I'm really surprised. Still I'm sure it will pick up.

Best wishes for a successful web chat, Deborah.

AbigailAdams Wed 12-Dec-12 20:06:31

Hi Deborah. Thanks very much for coming. I also think that Women's Aid performs such an important job.

My question is do you know how many women who need help.get turned away due to lack of funding/space in refuges? And a follow-on question of how on earth do you deal with these women who can't be housed? It must be heart-breaking.

I'm interested in how you can donate and what to donate.

Meglet Wed 12-Dec-12 20:08:30

Hi Deborah,

I am concerned about the planned charges for the CSA, even for domestic abuse victims. My XP has kept out of our way and paid every month without fail via the CSA but when they increase his monthly payment he may well flare up again.

Did you have any involvement in the campaign against CSA charges, and if so are you still involved? Although sadly I think the government are hell bent on going through with it sad.

InNeedOfBrandyButter Wed 12-Dec-12 21:08:32

I think woman's aid is a pile of shite tbh, I lived in one of their refuges for about 4 months and it was terrible. The staff and the way they behaved was awful. I can't even begin to describe how awful it was ran and not just in the refuge I was in.

The only only good thing was the counselling sessions once a week with an outside counsellor and the other women in it.

I hope another decent charity steps up and takes over.

flippinada Wed 12-Dec-12 21:17:55

I'm really sorry your had such a bad time brandybutter, that wasn't my experience at all and I know others have found their help invaluable.

I think the sad truth is, like a lot of charities and third sector organisations they are really under-funded and are limited in what they can do with the resources they have. It shouldn't be like that but it is.

InNeedOfBrandyButter Wed 12-Dec-12 21:28:12

flip I can't even articulate coherently as it still makes me so upset 2 years down the line. It wasn't to do with funding it was a staffing problem, one woman got kicked out over a comment her ds made they didn't even wait for her dc to be at school before proceeding to evict her.

I wouldn't advise anyone to go in a refuge, a council B&B would be far better IME.

flippinada Wed 12-Dec-12 21:34:35

Yeah I can totally understand why that would be upsetting. I'm really sorry you had such a horrible time - I didn't mean to sound dismissive.

calamitySammy Wed 12-Dec-12 21:37:12

Hi guys,

I attend the freedom programme in Bath. We are looking at raise funds for the freedom programme and would welcome any ideas. Currently looking at doing a sky dive in the summer. The more the merrier in my opinion.

On another note, I've found any help I've had in relation to my abusive relationship invaluable and cannot sing their praises enough. I'm sure that, like most things, people have positive and negative experiences but I think it should be noted how strained these services are.

Sammy x

InNeedOfBrandyButter Wed 12-Dec-12 21:41:58

No you didn't sound dismissive, I do understand the organisation does have it's heart in the right place but I would of been better off never ever of going there.

calamitySammy Wed 12-Dec-12 21:42:47

Aw man, I stayed in a B and B and was very lucky to be staying with a lovely couple who didnt seem to mind my 1month old screaming in the night and if customers complained they never said anything to me. Ive heard horror stories about B and B stays tho and have to say that the temporary accommodation we had was awful, at the top of a large block to flats with no lift, full of mould and had evidently had a family with a dog staying in it that had clearly deficcated all over the floor. People in the block were awful, the couple below regularly had screaming matchs (pretty sure he hit her too) and alot of violence and drug related stuff going on. Grass isnt always greener, not being dismissive either just saying.

IvanaNapAfterChristmasDinner Wed 12-Dec-12 22:08:48

Hello Deborah,
I have recently been in contact with some refuges and have had an insight into the work you do (forming the impression that it is very hard, varied and worthy!)

I have set up a small initiative/organisation whereby new books are chosen for, and donated to, children housed with their mothers in refuges.

This has been with the help of some very generous Mumsnetters - funds have been collected and then books/toys from an independent shop have been hand-picked for each child. This has been successful so far and I have been amazed at both the willingness of people to give to such a cause as well as the gratitude of the recipients (the admin at the refuges). Our background is rooted in education, children's literature and a desire to do a little bit of good smile

My question is whether you think this initiative is a practical and worthwhile one? I type, tentatively...! do you think providing something which is probably viewed as a luxury item is useful or could it perhaps detract from the more basic, immediate needs that you have to address? Could it be better channelled elsewhere / with a different focus, or do you think books are a useful addition to have available to the mothers, babies and children you support?

If you have a chance, at a later date perhaps, to look further into what we have been doing - this is the StorySenders blogspot and here is the most recent MN thread. Any advice or comments would be most welcome I have been fumbling in the dark at times blush thanks

neuroticmumof3 Wed 12-Dec-12 23:46:21

Hi Deborah
can I ask your views on non DV organisations (such as housing associations) winning contracts to provide DV services such as refuge and outreach?

MadameOvary Wed 12-Dec-12 23:50:09

Hello Deborah,
As someone who was helped massively by Women's Aid, their refuge and their subsequent counselling, I would now like to help in any way I can. I am the Chair of a recently set up Community Trust which has now been granted Charitable Status and was wondering how best to approach Women's Aid to see if their was any way we could compliment their services without competing with them for funding? The last thing we would want to do is encroach on your territory with such drastic cuts already biting. If there is a way we could work with you, preferably without requiring too much in the way of time and energy on your part, please let me know. Thank you.

olgaga Thu 13-Dec-12 08:28:08

Also want to add my thanks for the work done by WA. The grim DV statistics tell their own story.


Encourage local WA contacts to set up a presence on Mumsnet Local, especially re suitable items for donation and how people can help.

In a recent case I'm aware of a woman was offered a place in a refuge 40 miles away, which would have meant it was impossible for her to continue to work and for her children to attend their school. She was told this was the "policy" to remove her from potential danger. Needless to say she had to refuse the refuge place, and ended up sleeping in her car while her child slept at a friend's house. Because she had refused a refuge place this created problems with the local Housing Office who withdrew their initial (suitable) offer of emergency accommodation and instead offered her a room above a pub.

I urged her to go to her local MP and only after he intervened did the Council offer her somewhere more suitable.

Is it common practice for WA to insist that women uproot from their locality? That would surely add insult to injury!

Also it seems to me that making more demands on local MPs might help to highlight the effect of funding cuts.

I hope I can be here at 1.30.

helpyourself Thu 13-Dec-12 09:56:17

What advice would you give young women and girls to 'DV proof' themselves? I'm thinking of red flags to look out for before they get involved with men who will be violent. And behaviours and patterns in themselves to be aware of.

helpyourself Thu 13-Dec-12 09:58:14

That question has nothing to do with the impact of cuts confused blush

YourHandInMyHand Thu 13-Dec-12 10:59:41

I'd like to ask about support for children and families who have gotten out of an abusive relationship but are still subjected to their ex partners attempts to abuse and control via issues such as child contact, and maintenance.

I know so many amazing strong women in this situation. Only one of them has been receiving post split support, and thank god she was as the ex was even more calculating than anyone could have thought. Her support worker will be being made redundant.

The focus seems to be on getting women out, with little long term support and that seems a shame as women who have had children with an abusive partner find it very hard to fully disengage from them no matter what they try.

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