afrah qassim

“Savera UK continues to provide vital support to those at risk.”

I welcome you to our newsletter. My introduction for our third newsletter this year is about reflecting on how we survived the last few months of COVID-19 and how it has impacted on those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA). We were told everything was going into a lockdown for only a week or two but here we are, months later. We have continued to adapt, but clear and inconsistent messages from the government have made it difficult for the service to adjust.

I cannot thank the Savera UK Team enough for their motivation and commitment in continuing to deliver our service and ensuring our clients are getting all the support they need. They are not just faced with the challenges of the pandemic daily, they are also met by resistance from those who still do not recognise the seriousness of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices. These challenges do not only delay the response at mitigating risks, but also misses the ‘One Chance Rule’ by them not believing in those who seek our help. I am pleading not to let what happened to Shafilea Ahmed or Banaz Mahmod to happen again (ITV’s two part-drama ‘Honour’ shares the story of Banaz and how professionals missed the opportunity to safeguard her).

The Domestic Abuse Bill presents ground-breaking changes to the ways in which the UK seeks to tackle domestic violence – a practice which is costly in both human and economic terms. However, even with an invigorated justice system, the Domestic Abuse Bill remains fragmented and incomplete as migrant women and ‘honour’-based abuse survivors are unacceptably left behind. During the pandemic, domestic abuse statistics have increased nationally, but HBA continued to remain silent. Savera UK and other similar charities continue to take the lead in providing vital support to those at risk and tackling the cause to make systemic change. However, many of us can only continue to do this with sustainability and now, as charities, we rely on grant funding and donations from kind people who believe in the work we do. With the current situation, this may be even more difficult to sustain.

I also plead for everyone to reflect on how this pandemic has impacted on us all, but also those who are at risk of violence and abuse. No one would go against their family if they were happy and loved, it takes bravery and courage to seek help.

Afrah Qassim

Founder & CEO

Read Autumn 2020 newsletter