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Savera UK August 2017 Newsletter

By Shauna from Savera UK

Savera UK have been so busy since sending you our last newsletter. From starting yoga sessions for our clients, having our first drop in, to putting on a profound memorial conference with our partners, Savera UK have been striving to develop an impressive service for our clients as well as raising awareness of the issues we face within BME communities. To keep up to date with all the great work that Savera UK is doing, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and share our newsletter!

Our Founder: Afrah Qassim

"Since the establishment of Savera UK in 2010, the work has been delivered on a voluntary basis by myself and Board Members with occasional funding to help us continue the development, which we are very thankful for, but were still not able to deliver the core services that many would ask me about and was difficult for me to answer. I too was desperately wanting and kept imagining of the day when Savera UK would be able to open its doors to those who are in need of Savera’s support. Just from the work we have been doing voluntarily, demand for Savera UK's specialist services that focus exclusively upon addressing these taboo and silent issues of domestic abuse and harmful practices within BME communities has grown, but the resources were not available to meet these increased demands and it was difficult, at times that I did think of giving up. Savera UK Founder Afrah Qassim

However, the cause is too big and very close to my heart to just give up, also Savera UK's beliefs and commitment to make changes to help towards eliminating such taboo issues no matter how small and small change is better than no change. What makes Savera UK unique is those individuals who sign up offering their outstanding commitments and would go out of their way to ensure we achieve our set goals big or small.  The Big Lottery, Esmee Fairbairn and other funds have allowed us to develop and open the closed doors that once was a dream and so far... 

The recruitment of Savera UK's small team is here and they have made a massive development and changes within only 8 months since their recruitment. The service is now operating to its best ability with what we are currently able to provide. The team have delivered conferences and training reaching over 500 people across services, raising awareness of domestic abuse and harmful practices within Merseyside and Cheshire. Furthermore, Savera UK took part in the SafeLives Spotlight blog talking about breaking the silence within BME communities, reached more than 600 young people through the school engagement project, started our drop-in sessions, Savera’s professional and self-referral path-ways (which is soon to be displayed on the website to access) and our client referral is increasing on a weekly basis and already exceeded our target that is required by our commissioners.

Savera UK’s team works tremendously hard to ensure they provide appropriate and responsive support to our clients and partners. I am proud to have a team that is committed to this area of work and not afraid to challenge and be challenged.

However, to be able to grow and expand more in our service provision and ensure sustainability, we must explore funding and fundraising opportunities and if anyone out there can support us in anyway, please get in touch."   


Discussion Topic: What are Harmful Practices?

Harmful practices reflect the values and beliefs held by members of a community that have been there for generations, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful. These harmful practices include honour based abuse, early/forced marriages, female genital mutilation, breast ironing, preventing women from controlling their own fertility, dowry payments, son preference, bride-price and more. 




Savera UK Projects Savera UK have been working hard to enhance its support to service users and also expand its services and awareness across Merseyside and Cheshire.


The Schools Project

Our schools project was funded by Merseyside Police and Police Crime Commissioner. To date, we have worked with a number of secondary schools, reaching over 600 young people across Merseyside where we delivered sessions during their assemblies and have organised a number of engagements with young people in small groups, where they created a range of creative materials including developing promotional leaflets for the young people, producing a film, as well as working with radio interviews with survivors of honour based abuse. The young people were able to engage in these sessions and with professionals to help them learn different skills for example designing and marketing, interview skills and presenting, film making and researching for these issues as well as raising awareness of harmful practices. The range of materials produced by the young people will be used by Savera UK as part of our future engagement with young people within schools and the community.

The feedback of these workshops have been very positive and rewarding, some young people stated, "that was really heavy, but brilliant" and a teacher said that, "it was always going to be hard to listen to the survivors speak, but it is something they will never forget for the rest of their lives". Ngunan Adamu who facilitated the presentation and radio sessions said, "spending a day with the young people was an absolute pleasure, the young people got to grips with the meaning, understanding and impact of culture based violence and death with both hands, they made my role very easy and enjoyable. But also being in the presence of two women who have suffered from culture based violence and forced marriage really brought the subject matter to light and I think we all went home different people."     

It was moving to hear this feedback and we were very privileged to have two brave survivors who shared their survival stories of honour based abuse and forced marriage.

We will soon launch the work of the young people involved and invite them to receive their participation certificate.

The schools engagement project and partnerships will continue and we will be able to update you via our future newsletters. If you're interested and want to get involved then please contact us at info@saverauk.co.uk or call 0151 709 6588.




The National Memorial Day Conference

14th July 2017 would have been Shafilea Ahmed's 31st birthday. In 2003 she was murdered by her parents in front of her siblings for becoming too Westernised. An estimated 5,000 women across the world are killed each year for bringing shame to their families; at least 12 of these are British.

On 14th July we remembered all those who were murdered in the name of so-called 'honour' on the annual National Memorial Day. Savera UK held a conference in partnership with Wirral Connect and MSB Solicitors to remember the victims and to raise awareness to ensure that services understand issues surrounding Honour Based Abuse.

Savera UK gives a huge thank you to those who attended the conference and it's partners for supporting it.

Thank you to all of our speakers: 

Aislinn O’Dwyer (Savera UK, Board of Directors)

Tania (Savera UK, Service Development Manager)

Mark Camborne (Head of Corporate Community Safety and Transport)

Afrah Qassim (Savera UK Founder) 

DCI David Rooney (Merseyside Police)

Wendy Eves (MSB Solicitors)

Nazir Afzal, OBE (Former Chief Prosecutor for North West England & the Patron of Savera UK)




A message from a Savera UK Service User



LSTM Report


Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) conducted an evaluation on Savera UK as part of their International Health Consultancy. The consultancy team Ruth Jahonga, Blessing Cadogan and Judite Langa were commissioned to conduct a preliminary review of its 1:1 model of services following the 3 year funding received from the Big Lottery Fund (Women and Girls Initiative) in December 2016.

LSTM Review of Savera's one to one model

Savera UK wanted to assess the needs of the Savera UK service users and stakeholders and therefore the consultancy team interviewed clients, stakeholders and members of staff. The report was successful in highlighting the strengths of Savera UK's values and effective support.

It also helped to show where Savera UK can improve its services in order to grow and continue the development. 



Professional Engagements

We have been busy spreading the word about our services. We attended the FGM Lancashire event in June and shared a table with their Nestac UK Peer Mentor.

Savera UK support worker and Nestac UK Peer mentor

We also attended the Cheshire West and Chester IDVA team meeting where we did an hour long presentation on the work of Savera UK including referral pathways and a brief session on harmful practices. This has helped develop multiagency cooperation across Cheshire West and Chester.

We've met with the independent chair of the Cheshire West and Chester adult safeguarding board to talk about Savera UK's work in order to develop partnerships and support to deliver our services within Cheshire. They are very supportive of our work offering ongoing support and are keen for us to start engaging with agencies within the area. They have also invited us to attend the next safeguarding board meeting to present and be introduced to the board as well as linking us in with a harmful practices group that meets quarterly in the Cheshire area. 

We also got invited into Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as part of their light bite lecture series. It gave us the opportunity to promote Savera UK's services as well as develop a partnership with Alder Hey. In addition, we raised awareness amongst staff who have identified the requirement of further knowledge and understanding in this area including senior practitioners where they then have the confidence of identifying and responding to domestic abuse and other harmful practices within BME communities. 

Savera UK also attended a Merseyside Police CPD event alongside Karma Nirvana highlighting the importance of understanding Honour Based Abuse (HBA) and Forced Marriage (FM) within the police force. It was a very useful and informative talk about the importance of the 'one chance rule' with professionals as well as recognising and understanding the signs. It also highlighted the challenges that can be faced within these cases in BME communities in comparison to other domestic abuse cases, such as the fact that it's not always just one perpetrator but often whole communities that could be against the individual.

Community Engagement

We took Savera UK into the community with invitations from Serco, a housing service supporting Asylum Seekers as well as the Picton Summer event, focusing on the Roma community. Although we had the sunshine for the Picton Summer event, the rain did not stop Savera UK’s team taking part in the Serco Community event and informing the community of the services they can access if they are under any threats of domestic abuse and harmful practices. Engaging in the community also informed other services who were present at both events about Savera UK and building partnerships with other services and the community. 

LCDS and Savera UK at Serco Community event

We will also have a presence at the Liverpool John Moores University Fresher's Fair in September. This will be a great opportunity for Savera UK to raise awareness, promote and inform students of the services we provide as well as to help recruit volunteers for our volunteers project.

Partnership Work

RASA & Merseyside Police

Savera UK was commissioned by Merseyside Rape and Sexual Abuse services as part of their successful tender bid for services for victims of sexual offences by the Merseyside Police and Police Crime Commissioner, to coordinate and deliver 5 full-day training sessions within Merseyside (St Helens, Sefton, Liverpool, Wirral, and Knowsley), the delivery of the sessions was delivered in partnership with Merseyside Police. We have succeeded in reaching up to 1,000 professionals across Merseyside and Cheshire since January 2017.

AFTA Thought & the Local Authority Liverpool

Another harmful practices training was delivered in partnership with AFTA Thought. AFTA Thought is a drama-based training company, specialising in staff training using scripts and training scenarios where together we explore cases of honour based abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and culture. Participants are able to question and recognise signs of safeguarding and the importance of the 'one chance rule'. The training was commissioned by Liverpool Local Authority.   

With the above training and other training and engagement, we have been able to reach over 500 professionals across Merseyside and Cheshire. Jessica Shaughnessy (Video Journalist) In partnership with video journalist Jessica Shaughnessy, we developed a Savera UK film called 'My Savera'. Speaking with our service users, partners and staff the film presented Savera UK's development as well as showing the need and the value in the organisation from the stories of our brave survivors. The short film was debuted at the Savera UK National Memorial Day Conference on 14th July and received great reviews such as, "beautifully filmed survivors story – very brave" and also "...fantastic way to inspire others to action". Short clips of the 'Survivors' film will be available on our website soon.

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Savera UK Drop-In

The drop-in is an opportunity to encourage our clients to get involved, inform them of services they can access and provide them with practical support and advice. The drop-in is only open to our client group. Below are the dates for the next drop-ins, if your service can offer something to Savera UK and the clients we are working with then please get in touch by emailing info@saverauk.co.uk.

18th October 

8th November



Savera UK are holding training days for professionals on 8th December 2017 and 23rd February 2018. The session will support confidence when addressing safeguarding concerns about Harmful Practices. 






We are delighted to welcome Jackie to the team who will be carrying out Savera UK's Big Lottery Fund Evaluation. We can't wait to see the results!