South Asian Women’s Refuge (SAWR)
Stonewater’s South Asian Women’s Refuge (SAWR) opened its doors in 2008 to house South Asian women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
South Asian women that are victims of domestic abuse can be particularly at risk and find it difficult to access statutory support services due to their immigration status. Without refuges like SAWR they face homelessness and destitution in an already potentially life-threatening situation. SAWR provides a safe and supported environment in a culturally sensitive way.
Women who come to SAWR experience additional difficulties because of language barriers that can make telling their particular story challenging. This is combined with a lack of awareness of British culture and their rights and responsibilities as a citizen. Often, they are seen as ‘hard to house’ because of the uniqueness of the challenges they present by mainstream housing providers.
At SAWR Stonewater have created an empowering environment that works with women at the refuge to achieve independent living. An immigration specialist that works on a pro-bono basis supports the women with applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) without them having to leave the safety of the refuge. This innovative approach has resulted in a 100% success rate for applications for ILR.
The work at SAWR ensures the women and children that are housed at the refuge have an opportunity to live a safe an independent life.
The refuge is only able to help around a third of women that are referred to SAWR, there is a need to continue to raise awareness of the unique needs of these particularly at-risk group of customers.