Gender violence campaign marked by local refuge

As part of the ‘16 days of action to end gender violence’, an international campaign that challenges violence against all genders, staff at Stonewater’s Asian Women’s Refuge (SAWR) hosted an event to raise awareness and thank all of its stakeholders and the community for their ongoing support.

South Asian Women's Refuge

The event, held at Bedford Borough Council, saw SAWR staff and residents speak about many issues that affect people who live in the refuge, such as cultural barriers, domestic abuse, forced marriage and modern day slavery. Guests were also invited to write words of encouragement in ''leave footprints in our hearts'' - a book giving hope and inspiration to residents.

Antonina Belcheva, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Commissioning Officer, said, “Women refuges will be forever my weak spot, having managed few myself I understand the struggles the women and staff face on a daily basis. What strikes me during the presentations was the ability of your clients to come out and speak. It shows clearly that their confidence has grown since they have first came to you.''

Shamela Khatun, SAWR Project Co-ordinator, said, “Thank you to all of our stakeholders and the local community for supporting the refuge and being part of this journey to end gender violence.

“As a refuge we see first hand the difference that all the support and donations given to the refuge makes to the residents, and lives are turned around and changed for the better as a result of this.”