Hands in the air

Survivor-led organisations deserve safe spaces

VOICES is calling for whole community support to ensure organisations created by and for survivors of domestic abuse can flourish in safety.

Hands in the air

Survivor-led organisations deserve safe spaces

VOICES is calling for whole community support to ensure organisations created by and for survivors of domestic abuse can flourish in safety.

There is a unique benefit to coming to find support from an organisation run by people like you, in this case, by women who understand your experiences of domestic abuse because they have been there themselves. And when you find yourself in darkness, because hope is gone and confidence in yourself and your future is at its lowest, the light shone by people who have walked this path before you, and recovered to find hope, optimism, and new happiness, is invaluable.

Organisations run by and for survivors of domestic abuse do not simply come into being by magic, or because the state funds them and recognises they are needed. They are often the fruit of long labour, determination not to give up, and a wish for the abusive acts of others not to define us: to be active in our own recovery, and to show the way, not only for other survivors but also for the wider community and services.

Since the reality of abuse is that stories rarely end swiftly, disadvantage and damage are deep, and there are long-term consequences and risks, survivor-led organisations and the people who work for them also really need the commitment of their own communities to protect and keep them safe. Their unique value and their vulnerability must be understood by statutory services, not discounted as “different”, “awkward”, or “disruptive” of the status quo. People with lived experience create different kinds of service, which can enhance existing support, but can also show up what is missing from the mainstream. This might be an understanding of trauma or the value of long-term working, or the specialist support provided by Sistah Space in London, for example.

Safeguarding and safety responsibilities towards individual victims and survivors of abuse exist, but the same duty of care does not extend to survivor-led organisations. We are calling for the same duty of care to be shown towards “by and for” organisations as towards individuals, where they face similar risks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if across this country, safe spaces in our communities were created and supported for organisations run by and for survivors of domestic abuse to bring their unique value, and shine a light for others to better understand and recover from abusive behaviours? We invite you to dream, campaign for and create those safe spaces, and for anyone in our communities with the power to ensure they can flourish in safety, to do so!

Quotation marks

This service has saved my mental health and has provided a safe service whilst helping with coping mechanisms for the future.

- Lena

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