Our commitment to Solace Women's Aid
Solace Women’s Aid is building safe lives and strong lives for 11,000 women and girls across London every year. For more than 40 years Solace has supported women and children who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse. Solace provide a safe home, create safe spaces and a range of therapeutic services to ensure that women and children are strong enough to rebuild their lives, and be on a journey of recovery.
We asked Rhiannon, who works on Solace’s advice line, a few questions about her work.
How has working for Solace Women's Aid changed your life?
Working at Solace has been incredible. It is an extremely rewarding job and allows me to make a real difference to women’s lives, I can empower them and help them change their futures. It inspires me to keep working on the front line.
Is Solace more in demand now than when it was founded 41 years ago?
The demand for our services seems to have increased recently. The recent cuts to services and benefits that have recently imposed means more women are at risk from financial abuse and the increased housing crisis means that more women are in crisis. There is more awareness of domestic violence as well, which means more women are reaching out. Although these issues put more stress on our service it is fantastic that women are seeking support and that Solace, and me, are able to be there for them.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job on the advice line is being able to be there for, and support, the most vulnerable women who come forward. And, when you manage to get the woman a good result, wither by being a listening ear or actually getting them into housing it is so rewarding to see their reaction.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that Solace faces today?
The biggest challenges we face at Solace is the reduced access to funding. Especially for specialised support for certain groups of harder to reach women or those who have no recourse to public funds. We really need to be able to support women from these backgrounds as often they are marginalised and have nowhere else to turn, we need to reach out to them especially and it is getting harder to get funding to help them.
How can we work towards a society that is free of domestic and sexual abuse?
It takes everyone to make a difference and build a society free of domestic and sexual abuse. 28% of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and in London alone the police receive a 999 call relating to domestic violence every 30 seconds. It takes everyone being aware it happens at every level of society and looking out for people on the tube, in the school playground and knowing where they can tell them to go, to local agencies like Solace. Also, to teach your children, boys and girls, how to respect each other. Early awareness of healthy relationships is really important.
If someone is reading this and wants to help, what should they do?
If you want to do more, and help more women affected domestic violence, you can volunteer at your local domestic violence charity like Solace. Or tell 3 of your friends about Solace and what we do to help. Making sure more people are aware of the help out there could make life-saving difference to the one woman that needs it. Also, keep up to date on the changes that are happening in your local government and councils, to stop people continually cutting services. Follow Solace on twitter @SolaceWomensAid to keep track of local policy changes, and campaigns that you can get involved in!