Friday, April 24, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Women's Aid

It was a virtual performance of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" by London City Voices that gave me today's Feel Good Friday idea. The community choir was raising money for the organization, Women's Aid. Let's find out why.

Founded in 1974, Women's Aid is a national charity in England working to end domestic abuse. One of the services they offer is Live Chat, a way for women to connect with expert support workers for assistance. In the first two weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, visits to the site increased by 41%. Women's Aid wanted to raise £200,000 ($247,100) so they could expand the hours of the Live Chat service. I'm happy to report they met their goal and you can now contact Live Chat from 10am - 2pm, Monday - Friday (GMT).

In addition to chatting with a support worker, survivors of domestic abuse can get help via email, by calling a 24/7 hotline, connecting in a survivors forum or by reviewing the survivors handbook. The handbook answers questions about domestic abuse and how to help your children, as well as refers women to safe houses, legal assistance and mental health resources. In 2018 the hotline handled over 100,000 calls and connected callers to almost 300 local services.

Women's Aid also shares information, training and resources with other organizations that support survivors. They educate local communities, schools and football clubs about the issue of domestic abuse and raise public awareness with innovative campaigns like this interactive billboard, Blind Eye. I recommend clicking the link to see how it works.

In order to bring about social change, Women's Aid also conducts research into key areas of domestic abuse to influence government policy. In 2018, they secured £55m in emergency funding from the government.

While Women's Aid met their fundraising goal this week, the need doesn't go away. You can support the global sisterhood with a donation, by campaigning (if you're a local) and by raising awareness on social media using the tag #notalone on the Women's Aid Facebook page and Twitter @womensaid.

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