Savera UK goes national
By Rachael Biggs
Liverpool charity goes national in the fight against honour-based violence, FGM and forced marriage
Savera UK - a Liverpool charity working to save those at risk from horrific incidents of honour-based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, has announced its plans to take the fight national.
Since Savera Liverpool was set up in 2010, the charity has been dedicated to tackling domestic abuse within black and minority ethnic communities of Liverpool, and raising awareness among professionals and practitioners of these harmful practices. The metamorphosis of ‘Savera Liverpool’ to ‘Savera UK’ is representative of the outstanding contribution the charity has made to protecting some of the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals in our local communities.
Afrah Qassim, Founder of Savera and Community Development Worker with Liverpool NHS, said ‘We have already broken down a lot of barriers in our local communities and we want to give more people a way out. We want to make sure that famous cases, such as what happened to Shafilea Ahmed can never happen again.’
To mark the changes taking place within the charity, Savera UK has introduced a new high-profile patron - Nazir Afzal OBE. Nazir is the former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England, and is a tireless campaigner on issues relating to the rights of women and those affected by the harmful practices of forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation. Nazir said:
‘Savera means new beginnings and the people Savera helps know exactly what that means.
‘They are rescued from hopeless and desperate abusive relationships, or from families who are determined to harm them through forced marriage or FGM, and given hope, help and a home.
‘These victims and survivors are the least likely in the UK to seek help because of issues such as honour and culture. However, they know that as Savera goes national, more of them will be saved from lives of despair. It is my privilege to be Savera’s Patron, I can think of no better way of showing my admiration for the work they do and the lives they save.’
A survivor who received critical support from Savera told of her experience:
‘On the night of my wedding I left my family home and moved into my husband’s parent’s house as is the custom. My husband’s parents made it clear that I was required to fulfil my duties as a wife and daughter in law - I was to clean, iron, share the cooking and running of the house for the whole family.
‘My mother said “if you leave him you are dead to me, my doors will be closed to you…I knew this was no idle threat. I knew that if I left my husband I would lose my family – honour really is thicker than blood.
‘Savera has offered me a lifeline – I know it’s not over yet and I know there are more challenging times ahead – but I know that Savera will be with me, walking by my side, supporting me. In Savera I trust.’