Women of The World + Women's Aid
Last weekend at the Women of The World festival at the Southbank Centre, we listened to a lot of inspiring talks by incredible women. One talk that was particularly inspiring was about women and homelessness where were excited to hear from the CEO of Women's Aid, Katie Ghose.
The talk was very informative and moving, as she spoke about the cuts to women's refuges and homelessness. During a part of her speech she highlighted how being homeless differs a lot from men and women and how important it is to to preserve the services we currently have in the UK to support women in vulnerable positions.
Along with Katie we heard from women working for charities Crisis and St Mungo's who all spoke about the proposed cuts that will effect women's refuges in the UK which are vital to helping women escape homelessness. The panel also highlighted how being homeless often differs greatly for men and women, in many cases leaving women the most vulnerable. Many women who end up sleeping rough have been victims of violence or abuse and do not feel safe on the street and are often less visible than men. Rarely seen on the high streets or in groups, women who are homeless tend to be alone, on the periphery, often sleeping in abandoned buildings or bin sheds rather than visibly on the streets.
Women's Aid is an grassroots federation offering help to women and children of domestic abuse, as well as working for a future society where domestic violence is not tolerated. They work both on a local and national level, and promotes polices and practices to prevent domestic abuse. They work for better legal protection and runs public awareness education campaigns. Women's Aid provides services through its website, publications and also runs a 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Refuge.
They are currently running a campaign to save women's refuges, and there's a petition you can sign (let's do it!).
Katie Ghose, via Huffington Post
We got some great advice from all three charities about what to do if we are worried about anyone who we think may be sleeping rough. They told us about Street Link, an organisation that allows members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them. They have a hotline that you can call if you see some sleeping rough and they will send a volunteer to help them. Read more here (there's also an app available for smartphones).