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Latest News

Celebrating 40 years of securing a safer future

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Solace Women’s Aid celebrates supporting 60,000 women and children in London over 40 years, with an urgent new appeal.

Solace Women’s Aid is celebrating its 40th year by launching an appeal to continue its life-changing work during a time of unprecedented demand for its services and cuts in public funding.

Since the beginning Solace Women’s Aid has grown considerably and has helped over 60,000 survivors of domestic and sexual abuse to rebuild their lives. They provide a holistic range of specialist services across London, including refuges, advice & advocacy, counselling, support groups and family & children’s projects.

Demand for their services continues to grow at an alarming rate. Mary Mason, CEO comments “As domestic and sexual violence is discussed more and more in the media we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of survivors who feel more confident in coming forward, disclosing their own experiences and seeking support. All this in a climate of significant funding cuts

Despite the challenges in the sector, more volunteers than ever are being trained on Solace Women’s Aid’s helplines and additional staff are being recruited to provide one-to-one counselling, group therapy and specialist legal advice. But there is a lot more they need to do to secure a safer future for women, hence the 40 year appeal.

The organisation is asking for a £40 donation from organisations, groups and individuals concerned or affected by domestic or sexual violence. This donation could, for example, provide two counselling sessions, three children’s play therapy sessions, one legal consultation or an hour of helpline advice.

The charity recognises that breaking free from domestic violence or escaping sexual abuse is only the start. This is why they not only provide practical advice and a safe space to live, but also help women and children recover emotionally and build a future free from abuse.

It doesn’t happen overnight and takes courage and determination but, with Solace’s help and the success of their new appeal, service users will continue to be able to develop the confidence and independence they need to rebuild their lives free from abuse.

One Solace service users sums it up “Your bruises go away and your bones mend. But it’s the despair, being hopeless. It’s a very dark place to be. Solace has given me hope.”

Visit www.solacewomensaid.org.uk/40years to make a real difference to the lives of women and children who have survived domestic and sexual violence. You can also spread the word by tweeting ‘Secure a safer future’ using @solacewomensaid and hashtag: #solace40


For further information please call Karen Ruskin on 020 7619 1350 or email: Karen Ruskin: k.ruskin@solacewomensaid.org / Alex Siepel: a.siepel@solacewomensaid.org

Find out more about our 40 year history

Download our 40 years of SWA press release


Improving safety for women

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Set up in Enfield in summer 2013, the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) service has been training clinical and non-clinical medical staff in recognising and using a clear referral path for dealing with domestic violence.

This work has proven extremely useful to GPs, and we are looking forward to continuing this training.  So far, Solace Women’s Aid has worked with the Enfield clinical lead on the project to deliver training to 26 different practice teams in east part of the borough.

In February 2014, the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) published its most recent public health guidance, which included the recommendation that GP practices and other agencies should provide staff with training on, and a referral pathway for, domestic violence and abuse.  Our IRIS training meets the NICE recommendations, with Level 1 training for receptionists and Level 2 training for primary care clinical teams.

We hope our continued work in this area will help improve organisational responses to domestic violence and abuse.

Making a difference with Ascent

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As the lead partner for the Ascent* Advice and Counselling strand, Solace Women’s Aid is proud to share some of the work we have accomplished in the first year of this project.


Leading a partnership of 14 organisations, we set-up and delivered a range of advice and counselling services across every London borough.  Services are delivered in a range of languages, and two advice hubs are now up and running.


In the past year, with our partners, we have supported more than 10,000 new service users across London, providing more than 10,000 one-to-one counselling sessions and more than 1,000 group counselling sessions. We have provided one-to-one advice to over 8,000 service users and have provided financial assistance to 37 women with no recourse to public funds to enable them to access vital services.  Read All »

Providing integrated care in Islington

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Solace Women’s Aid, in partnership with Liz Kelly from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), recently attended Islington’s annual Family Services and Outreach Workers event. The event – designed to equip front line workers with the knowledge, skills and ability to refer families to the appropriate services across Islington – is part of the council’s commitment to providing excellent integrated family services throughout the borough.


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Rock Against Violence is back!

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DBCohen, We Used To Make Things and The Fourfits are just some of the bands who will be playing at Solace Women’s Aid annual fundraiser, Rock Against Violence.


Returning to Islington’s O2 Academy on Thursday 13 November 2014, Rock Against Violence is a great night out featuring fantastic local talent and supporting an organisation that provides much needed services and support for women and children across London.


O2 Academy Islington
N1 Centre, 16 Parkfield Street
London N1 0PS


Tickets are £10. We will announce additions to the line-up here – http://www.rockagainstviolence.org.uk/ – and on Twitter via #rockagainstviolence_uk

Hope to see you there!


Solace publishes six new policy briefing reports

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These latest reports draw on the findings of Solace Women’s Aid’s three-year longitudinal study that followed 100 women and their children as they rebuilt their lives after domestic violence.  Topics include agency responses to women experiencing domestic violence; social housing needs of women and children moving on from domestic violence; financial (in)security; and the role communities play in ending violence against women.

Safe and secure housing crucial for rebuilding lives

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Solace Women’s Aid Chief Executive, Mary Mason, contributed to a recent article in Barnet Press about the local council’s requirement that domestic violence victims register as homeless before they can be rehoused.


“As a crime which takes place in the home, access to safe and secure housing is crucial for women and children seeking to rebuild their lives. It just does not make sense to create additional barriers to families in this situation,” she said.


She also noted that the council is participating in the North London Domestic Violence Reciprocal Agreement in which north London boroughs work together to rehouse domestic violence victims in a safe area.


http://www.barnet-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=7308&headline=Domestic violence victims told to register as homeless to be rehoused

Solace calls on Government to fund refuges

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A supporter of the Women’s Aid SOS: Save Refuges, Save Lives campaign, Solace Women’s Aid is particularly worried about the effects of local authority caps on numbers of non-local women accessing services and the continued shift of funding from refuge services to prevention and perpetrator programmes.

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Press Release: Finding the Costs of Freedom

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2 June 2014

Solace launches new research demonstrating the long term impact of domestic violence

Today Solace Women’s Aid has launched the findings of a three year research project, Finding the Costs of Freedom, that examines how women and children rebuild their lives after domestic violence. Conducted in partnership with the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), this is the first longitudinal study of it’s kind in Europe.
Tracking 100 women who had accessed one or more of Solace Women’s Aid services, the research identified that for all of the participants, removing themselves from the immediate control of an abusive man was only the first step. Over 90% experienced post-separation abuse, indicating the critical need for specialist support for women in the period after leaving an abusive situation.

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Our Magnificent London Marathon Runners!

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A huge thank you to Melissa and John who ran the Virgin London Marathon on

Sunday raising valuable funds for Solace  – every penny is needed to answer the

daily calls from women in London needing support to escape violence.  I hope you

are as proud of yourselves as we are! – it’s a monumental achievement and we are

eternally grateful for your support.  Thank you from all the women and children

we help.  You can still donate at  :



Help them smash through their targets – Help them to change lives in London.