Behind our Charity Christmas Cards are nine incredible causes who spread a little joy in a big way to people in need. This year, £150,000 from the sales of our cards will go to these amazing charities, split equally between them to support the wonderful work they do. And in the season of giving, what could be more magical than getting to know these guys a little better – learning how they give back, and how wishing your loved ones well this year will go even further than your nearest and dearest. Which brings us to our first cause: Women's Aid.
Christmas is a joyful time for many, but unfortunately not for all. For women and children experiencing domestic abuse, it can be a time of extreme anxiety and fear. We sat down with their Fundraising Manager, Cordelia, to discuss the role that Women’s Aid plays in helping to raise awareness and support survivors of domestic abuse.
Q1. In a nutshell, what does Women’s Aid do?
Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.
Q2. When was it established and where do you operate? And is there a unique story about how and why it began?
Women’s Aid was founded in 1974, or as we were then known, the National Women’s Aid Federation. We brought together nearly 40 independent refuge services and created a national network that enabled women and children experiencing violence and fear in the home to travel across the country to a place of safety. We also started to campaign for new laws and policies to protect women and children living with domestic abuse.
Our roots are in the women’s rights movement, and the organisation is run by women to support abused women and their children. We are proud to have been at the forefront of key achievements that have increased legal protection for survivors, and we have also raised public awareness about domestic violence and the sexism in society, which can often mean that such abuse is minimised, ignored, or misunderstood.
We are now a federation of just under 170 organisations which provide 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services and award a National Quality Mark for services that meet our quality standards.
We hold the largest national data set on domestic abuse and use research and evidence to inform all our work. Our campaigns achieve changes in policy, practice, and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated.
Q3. When people donate, where does their money go?
Donations support everything that we do in working towards creating a society where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated and is used to fund various activities. For instance, the lifesaving conversations on our Live Chat Helpline, training sessions for those working with survivors on a daily basis, or campaigns that make a real difference to survivors. Every pound you raise will go towards helping women to escape abuse.
Q4. What has been one of the most important projects you’ve seen your work aid?
Four years after the domestic abuse bill was first promised in the Queen’s Speech, it finally became law on 30th April 2021. Campaigning by survivors, activists and Women’s Aid secured many vital changes to the Act – it now goes beyond criminal justice reforms alone, to cover the family courts, housing, and health. We are so proud of the results that have been delivered with the help of our input. But rather than being the end of the work needed, this is just the beginning. The legislation needs to now be put in action to provide the changes that survivors need to see.
Q5. Which is your favourite of the 18 Charity Card designs?
Our favourite card is the Festive Fireplace, because it’s a reminder of the cosy warmth and security that all families should feel at Christmas.
Q6. How would you like to leave this world a better place? What is your charity’s ULTIMATE legacy?
Women’s Aid wants to see a day when domestic abuse is intolerable, and no woman or child has to live in fear, in their own home.
Q7. What can people do to play their part in helping women and children in need, this Christmas?
As part of our Come Together to End Domestic Abuse campaign, which we have launched in the run-up to our 50th Birthday, here are five things everyone can do:
1. Make a change where you are – think about your workplace, school, or sports club – is there a domestic abuse policy? Is there a poster in the bathroom or in communal spaces on how to get help? Could someone sign up for domestic abuse training?
2. Dispel myths about domestic abuse and challenge sexism – domestic abuse doesn’t happen because you provoked them, and it isn’t your fault if you are being abused by your partner – sexist attitudes towards women’s and men’s roles must be challenged to end domestic abuse.
3. Take action, your voice counts – join campaigns for better protection for survivors or fundraise to enable us to make a change. Put on an event or take part in a challenge, make a donation… or purchase Paperchase Charity Christmas cards!
4. Learn what to say to someone experiencing abuse – understand the reasons why, it may not be easy to just leave.
5. Speak up – show we are standing up against domestic abuse together, send us photos and stories about what you are doing to help stop domestic abuse and support survivors.
We will also be launching our winter appeal in the next few weeks – so keep your eyes peeled for how you can support this too.
Q8. What does spreading a little joy in a big way (our Christmas motto) mean to Women’s Aid?
For Women’s Aid, spreading joy means empowering and celebrating each other. At any time of year, we see this via our work with domestic abuse survivors who empower and celebrate each other and create powerful connections where they campaign for change for other women and their children.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Women’s Aid. To support the amazing work they do you can donate on their website or purchase one of our Charity Christmas cards in-store or online. If you would like even more information about the lifesaving work that they carry out, you can visit their website here.