Tag: afrah qassim

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim

Savera UK Founder and CEO finalist for Merseyside Women of the Year Awards 2022

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim
Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, has been announced as a finalist for Merseyside Women of the Year Awards 2022.

Afrah was previously awarded ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ at the 2012 Merseyside Women of the Year Awards, when her work for establishing the Savera UK service in Merseyside was acknowledged. Thanks to her continued hard work alongside the dedicated Savera UK team, she has again received recognition, this time for extending the service to include a one-to-one support service in Merseyside and Cheshire and a national helpline.

Afrah is among eighteen courageous and inspirational women who have been acknowledged for making a difference in the region.

Afrah said: “I am so thankful to everyone who has supported us, past and present, in getting to this point, especially our committed team who are equally as driven and passionate to end ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices as I am.

“None of this work would be possible without them, and their continued support in tackling these issues.

“Thank you to the judges of Merseyside Women of the Year Awards for making me a finalist, and to my nominator. Having this work acknowledged helps remind me of the important reason I do it.”

The overall Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022 will be selected from all finalists, following a public vote (contributing 50% of the overall score) and being marked by the organisation’s judging panel against its criteria, contributing the remaining 50% of the final score.

You can vote for Afrah here until Friday, 10th June 2022: https://merseysidewomenoftheyear.co.uk/finalists-2022/

Payzee Mahmod Savera UK Ambassador

Savera UK celebrates introduction of new law banning child marriage

Payzee Mahmod Savera UK Ambassador

Savera UK welcomes the news that the minimum age of marriage will be raised from 16 to 18 in England and Wales.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill, introduced to UK Parliament by MP Pauline Latham OBE, has passed through Parliament and today received Royal Assent, meaning it has become law.

Savera UK ambassador and forced marriage survivor, Payzee Mahmod, has been instrumental in bringing the law to Parliament by tirelessly campaigning alongside organisations including IKWRO.

Payzee’s sister, Banaz, was forced into marriage when she was aged 16. Banaz was the victim of an ‘honour’-killing after ending the violent and abusive marriage.

Ahead of the Bill passing its third reading, Payzee wrote: “Struggling to put in to words what this means. I feel so many emotions. This is real life change.

“This is for me, for Banaz, for any child impacted by child marriage.

“Today tears of joy roll down my face because I know what this means for girls like me.”

Under the new law children will not be penalised, but adults found to be facilitating the marriage could face up to a seven year jail sentence and a fine.

The law will also apply to marriages which are not registered with the local council.

Savera UK CEO, Afrah Qassim, said: “We cannot thank our incredible ambassador Payzee enough for her tireless efforts to see this Bill brought to Parliament.

“This law has the potential to change the lives of thousands of girls for the better and it’s encouraging to see the impact one campaign can have on an entire country.

“At Savera UK, we continue to provide support for those at risk of, and survivors of, forced and child marriage, so this law will have a very real impact on our work.

“We continue to encourage young girls to talk to someone if they fear they are at risk of forced marriage.”

If you are affected by forced marriage, ‘honour’-based abuse or other harmful practices, you can call the Savera UK helpline on 0800 107 0726 (weekdays 9am – 5pm).

Savera UK CEO Afrah Qassim reflects on 2021 as “a small but mighty organisation”

Savera UK founder and CEO Afrah Qassim

“It feels like a long time since we celebrated the end of 2021 and welcomed 2022. Already we have lots to look forward to and I hope it’s the same for you. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on Savera UK’s 2021, including our achievements and obstacles. The beginning of 2021 brought new challenges from the outset, as the team were forced to work from home as a result of lockdown restrictions. Originally we thought we would be able to work from the office, but the lockdown forced us to pack up and organise homeworking in just one day after the Christmas holiday. At the time this news felt unbearable and to be honest I am not sure how I managed to keep calm and resilient, however we were able to support the team and ensure Savera UK continued to operate at its best regardless.

The challenges continued throughout the year with changes in staffing, recruitment and the increase of service demand while at one point operating with just a team of three. Despite the obstacles, the Savera UK team continued with business as usual.

Overcoming challenges and achieving our goals only happens when you have a strong team with excellent communication and more importantly the passion and commitment that the Savera UK team shows.

They never gave up and we supported one another to ensure our clients were given the best service. The organisation is fortunate enough to have a Chair and Board that continues to support us and guide me and the team every step of the way. As the CEO and founder of the organisation I am extremely grateful and proud of the team and the Board. As a small, but mighty organisation together we have highlighted ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices and made groundbreaking advances in how these cases are managed, including creating protocols here in Merseyside.

I want to thank our team from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank our funders, fundraisers and supporters in championing us and the work we do, we wouldn’t have come this far without you.

We achieved so much last year, but there are a few highlights from 2021 I want to share. Savera UK released its first Impact Report, which will now be delivered on an annual basis. Between June 2020 and June 2021 we reached over a 1,000 individuals via training and awareness and supported over 140 individuals that at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices. This may seem small to some, but to us it’s a huge change in seeing those at risk feel safe to come forward for help and support and to know that services finally understand the risk and call it to what it is. There is still a long way to go, but we have made an extraordinary change here in Merseyside and hope to achieve more here and other areas in the future.

While supporting clients Savera UK also delivered a number of events, including one developed and led by Savera UK Youth, who for the first time put together a Community Panel ‘Question Time’ style event. This came in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard and a rise in violence and abuse against women. Savera UK Youth felt they needed to see what our communities and faith leaders were doing to doing to address the issue and how they were working towards eradicating violence and abuse. All questions raised at the panel were sourced from young people.

Watch survivor stories from Savera UK clients (1200 x 150 px)

Savera UK has always strived to make International Women’s Day special and bring women from all backgrounds together with activities and partnerships. In 2021 unfortunately we weren’t able to host in-person events, but instead marked the day with a women only online event. The day was a great success with over 70 women from local communities attending. Alongside the event we created a community booklet magazine using the 2021 International Women’s Day them of ‘Choose to Challenge’, in which women from the community to wrote about their everyday activism. The booklet also shared recipes written by Savera UK clients to encourage families to discuss activism while bonding over the creation of a delicious dish.

Last year Savera UK launched the ‘One Chance Rule’ video, explaining the belief that there could only be one chance to save a life when a disclosure is made, and the importance to act on that. We also launched survivor videos after working with BBC Radio Producer Ngunan Adamu, who held sessions with our clients and encouraged them to bravely share their stories of what it’s like to be a survivor of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) as part of our ‘Orange the World’ campaign.

This is just a snapshot of the work Savera UK achieved in 2021, there is lots more information on our website which details all of our events, blogs and reports. We are so excited to see what 2022 will bring and where Savera UK be this time next year.

For now I want to thank you all again for your continuing support and championing our work and we welcome all the new supporters and partners to work together to keep this agenda moving and continue to break the silence.

Do speak out and challenge attitudes that consider harmful practices as their culture or norms to practice.”

Afrah Qassim

Founder & CEO  

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Jennifer, Social Work Student

Student Spotlight

 

Savera UK regularly welcomes student placements to the team so they can learn about what we do, how our team operates and the work involved in advocating for those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices.

Social Work student Jennifer, from Wolverhampton, has been on placement with us since the end of September from Edge Hill University, and as her time at Savera UK comes to an end we sat down to find out how she got on.

How did you first hear about Savera UK?

At university just before the summer we had a couple of days where we spoke to some of the services we could do placements with. I remember Savera UK being one of them. Afrah [Qassim, Savera UK founder and CEO] gave a presentation on ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA). I didn’t really understand it fully but it sounded so interesting to learn about. Then, when I got told I was at Savera UK I thought ‘This is great, I feel like I’ll learn loads’.

What has your day-to-day role been like?

I’ve worked with the clients in face-to-face appointments, in drop in sessions and welfare calls to check how they are and ask if they need anything else. I’ve done applications for Smallwoods Trust Grants and I’ve done risk assessments. I’ve also presented in multi-agency meetings. There’s been so many different things, it’s been great.

Of all your tasks, which has been your favourite?

I think organising the Christmas party and the drop in sessions for clients have been my favourite part. It was something similar to what I’ve done before and I knew it would have such a great impact I could physically see. When the clients came in I could see how happy it made them. Clients texted in afterwards and were like ‘I’m really thankful for the party and I hope you all have the best Christmas and New Year’. They were really grateful for the gifts and for the fact we put in so much time and effort to provide this for them. It was so nice, it was really heart-warming to know that I’d achieved something that had made them feel so happy.

What were some of the more challenging aspects of the role?

Working with other agencies, I think that would probably be the most challenging. HBA referrals usually require immediate action but a lack of understanding about the risks involved can mean that speed and communication is not always where we’d like it to be.

What can be done to help with those difficulties?

Improving general communication between all parties so everything is shared and helping to educate agencies on the specific risks and protocols around HBA and other harmful practices.

What has been aspect of the role that has surprised you the most?

The range of different experiences clients have had is what surprised me because even though they’re categorised into different areas they have been through so many different things, it’s kind of worrying to see how many different ways ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) can be perpetrated.

Did your placement at Savera UK live up to the expectations you had before starting?

It did live up to it. I was really excited to learn and knew it would be such an opportunity, then coming here I’ve learnt loads and I’ve built so many skills and developed so much as a person and as a professional. I think it has really lived up to the expectations.

What will be your main takeaway following your placement with us?

I would say listening in during some of the professionals meetings and listening to the team meeting. I’ve learnt about how the one-to-one team interact with social workers and I think that’s the most important thing to takeaway. I want to be a social worker that helps professionals as well as clients. Knowing exactly how to help other professionals, that’s the most important thing for me to takeaway.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for charities supporting those at risk of harmful practices?

Probably the fact not everyone is educated around it. A limited amount of people that actually know about what they are and how to stop them and so it makes it then more difficult for the services to argue that it is HBA or a harmful practice, because then other people don’t understand it, and because other people don’t understand it they then don’t want to accept it.

How can this be overcome?

With more education and awareness. Spreading that not just with professionals but with everyone. That will really help to share the message and to share the information that’s needed for people to spot these things so people at risk are more protected.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve got the rest of university to do then another placement next year for 100 days. I’ve always been more interested in children’s [social work] because I’ve got more experience of it but that’s not set in stone. I don’t really know what I’m going to do yet!

What did you enjoy the most about your time at Savera UK?

Interacting with the clients. That was why I wanted to do social work in the beginning, to interact with other people and learn from them. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from the clients themselves. For example, when we did the Violence Against Women workshop, they were speaking about the experience of violence they had and how they felt during that time and that to me was the most important thing, learning about how felt during the time and how they feel now and how that has progressed because of the help they’ve received and the help they’ve given themselves.

Thank you for your hard work Jennifer, you have been a great asset at Savera UK and we wish you all the best in the future.

Support Savera UK

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event

Savera UK and Zonta London join for Orange the World Toolkit launch event in Liverpool

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event
ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London’s Orange the World launch event (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Yesterday (Thursday, 25th November) Savera UK and Zonta London (a member of Zonta International) hosted a launch event to mark the beginning of Orange the World 2021 and 16 Days of activism centred on ending gender-based violence.

At Lovelocks Coffee Shop in Liverpool city centre yesterday we were joined by speakers who discussed why we must tackle violence against women and girls and what can be done to support the organisations doing this work.

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O'Dwyer at Orange the World 2021 launch event
Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer chaired yesterday’s panel and explained as we start the 16 Days of activism for Orange The World, we want to raise awareness of the fight against gender-based violence and abuse, which includes harmful practices such as forced marriage and child marriage, ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Mary Rasmussen led a moment of silence for those who have been lost to male violence before discussing sobering statistics including how globally, 137 women each day are killed by a member of their own family. The Lord Mayor urged people to continue working together to raise awareness, and ended her speech by saying “All do what you can. We have got to keep going.”

A member of Savera UK Youth read two moving poems, one titled ‘Honour’ and a second titled ‘A Woman’s Mind’.

Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021
Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021 (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, explained the 16 Days of activism toolkit was this year created in partnership with Zonta London in response to feedback last year from organisations and activists who wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.

Our toolkit centres each day on a theme, with actions people can take to get involved. You can find the Orange the World toolkit here.

Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police explained the force receives 250 reports of sexual offences every month and outlined the work the force is doing to tackle gender-based violence. She said the force takes domestic violence “very seriously”.

Unfortunately, Merseyside Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell was unable to attend the event but shared a video message in which she explained the scale of the issues we face, including that every minute the UK police are called to an incident of domestic abuse.

The PCC said: “The reality is that gender-based violence and abuse does not occur in a vacuum. It is part of a society that allows misogyny and patriarchal attitudes to fester that leads to these types of behaviours going unpunished. If we don’t address these daily occurrences of harassment and abuse and call it out for what it is, we will never seriously change things in our society for the better.” You can watch the video message in full here.

Finally, Dianne Jeans of Zonta London discussed the important campaigning their organisation does to raise awareness of issues surrounding gender-based violence. She explained day two of the 16 Days of activism, (Friday 26th November), was themed on envisioning, and asked people to share the futures they envision for women and girls by writing them on tags provided and hanging them on the envisioning tree.

Savera UK was deeply saddened to hear later that same evening two murder investigations were launched following the deaths of 12-year-old Ava White and a 47-year-old woman who has not been named.

The events that happened in Liverpool last night do not reflect the world that we want. The world that we envision – and the one that we will continue to fight to create – is one where all women are free to live and thrive without fear of abuse, violence or death.

Our thoughts remain with the victims’ families at this tragic time.

afrah qassim

Savera UK welcomes new strategy to tackle violence against women and girls in Liverpool

Savera UK is today welcoming the news of a new three-year strategy launched by Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson to tackle violence against women and girls. 

Liverpool City Council says the strategy outlines gaps in the current services and aims to bring the city to a position where there is an emphasis on prevention.

It is understood the strategy also takes into account those who are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices.

Afrah Qassim, CEO and Founder of Savera UK, said: “We welcome the launch of the Mayor’s new three-year strategy to tackle violence and abuse, including ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, against women and girls.

afrah qassim
Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim

Savera UK looks forward to supporting her plans and working collaboratively with the city council, statutory and voluntary services across the city, to tackle the root causes of these issues, support survivors and those at risk and enact lasting change that will create a safer city for women and girls.”

About the strategy, Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is a political priority for me – the statistics are really worrying and we simply have to do more.

“It takes real courage for victims and survivors to come forward, but there are currently inconsistencies in the service they receive.

“Furthermore, the organisations that provide vital services have been living from year-to-year because of the way funding is handed out, so we need to find a way to give them long-term stability.

“This strategy is not a panacea: it is a starting point to consult and engage with stakeholders, charitable and voluntary organisations involved in dealing with the issue.

“It’s the first stage in the process of what we plan to do, outlining Liverpool’s ambitions to end gender-based violence and recognising how we can all work together to achieve these aims.

“The strategy is not set in stone, and changes will be made as we move forward and come together as a city to deliver the change that is needed.”

Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence

Liverpool City Region landmarks to be lit orange to support global call to end gender-based violence

Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence
Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence

Iconic buildings and landmarks across the Liverpool City Region will be illuminated bright orange from this evening (Thursday 25th November), as part of a campaign aimed at ending gender-based violence.

For the second consecutive year, Savera UK has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to support the global ‘Orange The World’ campaign.

We are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world, through a series of events and initiatives that will take place during the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism, which run from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November to Human Rights Day on 10th December.

The campaign will begin with the illumination of landmarks in the Liverpool City Region and beyond in memory of all those lost to male violence, but also as a symbol of hope for a brighter future free of fear. Landmarks being illuminated include Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Cunard Building, World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside Police Headquarters, Rose Hill and its Canning Place offices, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral. Everton FC will support the campaign by illuminating Goodison Park in solidarity, while Sefton Council will be “lighting up digitally” on 25th November to mark the start of the 16 days of the campaign. Outside of the city region, the Library of Birmingham will also illuminate in support of the campaign and individuals across the UK are also being invited to light an orange candle or light at home after sunset and place it in a window, as a mark of remembrance and symbol of hope.

Our campaign also features an activism toolkit that will make it easier for people to participate in and engage with the 16 days of activism. The toolkit addresses themes such as allyship, advocacy and knowledge, and includes a bank of resources including social media assets and fact sheets, information about local and national organisations tackling gender-based violence, and events  that people can attend to learn more.

The campaign will culminate in an online panel discussion on Thursday 9th December (4pm – 6pm), Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse, which will tackle the harmful ways that culture is wrongly conflated with human rights abuses against women and girls.

Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim and Britt Gustawsson of Zonta International will be joined by a panel including Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director, Global Cause Partnerships from UNICEF USA, Dr Elham Manea from Zurich University, a political scientist specialised on the Arab Middle East, Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Prosecutor for the North West (UK) and Savera UK patron, and Dr Leyla Hussein OBE, a psychotherapist, specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse.

This year’s campaign ‘Orange the World’ campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man.

A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.                           

Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.

“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as educating yourself about different forms of abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact. Our Orange the World toolkit provides a starting point for people to enact change.”

Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “We know there are women and girls – relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues – who are suffering gender-based abuse and violence in our communities every single day.

“Today, and over the next 16 days, we want to make it clear that there is no excuse for abuse. This campaign is about demonstrating our shared commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls.  By lighting up some of Merseyside’s most iconic building in orange, we are sending out a visible message that are determined to create a brighter future for women and girls, free from violence and abuse.

“I would urge any woman or girl who is experiencing abuse to please reach out for help. There are many fantastic organisations on hand to offer care and support across Merseyside, please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for more information.”

Merseyside Police ACC, Ngaire Waine, said: “As a society we all need to take a strong stance against attacks on women and girls, who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.

“Alongside our partners we are committed to making the streets, homes and environments across Merseyside safer for women and girls so they can enjoy their lives to the full without fear.

“Merseyside Police will continue to target perpetrators of this abhorrent abuse and we will support and work with women and girls who are subjected to stalking or harassment, violence, domestic abuse, honour-based abuse or any other crimes based on their gender, so we can identify offenders and put them before the courts.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said: “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence and abuse, and tackling it is a priority. I am proud of the vital work being done by frontline organisations across the city, providing much-needed specialist support to survivors. The Orange the World campaign raises awareness and understanding of the issue and symbolises our city’s commitment to eliminating all forms of violence.”

To find out more about the Orange the World 2021 campaign and download the toolkit, visit: https://www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/ 

Buildings Illumination Details

Mersey Gateway Bridge – Lighting orange November 25 and December 10

World Museum – Lighting orange November 25 and December 10

Liverpool Town Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 3)   

St George’s Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 4)        

Cunard Building – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 5)        

Goodison Park – Staying illuminated on November 25

Wallasey Town Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10      

Merseyside Police Rose Hill and Canning Place – Lighting orange November 25

Greystone Footbridge – Lighting orange November 25

 

The Library of Birmingham – Lighting orange from November 25

SAE Liverpool students host fundraiser for Savera UK

Liverpool students support Savera UK with fundraiser gig at The Jacaranda Club

Savera UK is excited to be supported as the chosen charity for a fundraising event taking place in Liverpool.

Students of Music Business at SAE Liverpool have grouped together to create Dead Sound Collective, a live music promotions company, hosting their debut fundraiser in the heart of the city centre.

From 7.30pm on Monday 22nd November in aid of Savera UK there will be a night of poetry, music and spoken word at The Jacaranda Club on Slater Street. All the money raised will go to support survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices.

Thank you to SAE Liverpool students for choosing to support Savera UK
Thank you to SAE Liverpool students for choosing to support Savera UK

Among the line-up are poets Olive and Madelaine Kinsella and musician Aron, whose style is rooted in 80s synth-pop. Singer, songwriter and producer Niki Kand will also perform her “indie-lo fi dream pop” which “offers escapism and provides an insight into the therapeutic world she has constructed for herself”.

Niki, who grew up in Tehran, Iran, said she was heavily influenced by western pop growing up and began expressing herself through music after moving to Kuala Lumpur. Also scheduled to perform is local singer-songwriter Eleanor Nelly, whose sound encompasses country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, taking influence from My Chemical Romance, The Beatles and Sandi Thom.

About the event, Savera UK founder and CEO Afrah Qassim said: “We’re very thankful to the students for choosing Savera UK as the charity they wish to raise money for. By buying a ticket to this event your money will go directly towards supporting survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices.”

Megan Gelder, Event Director, said: “Dead Sound Collective goes further than just a university project, we wanted to create a safe space for marginalised individuals, especially with all the crazy stuff the world is experiencing right now.

“No one should feel alone in their hardships and we believe music and poetry are incredibly therapeutic ways to express oneself. With this in mind, we set out to find the perfect organisation to support, and who better to partner with than Savera UK. We were amazed by the work they do and wanted to celebrate this with our local community.”

Savera UK would like to thank Megan, Emil Klaus, Marketing and Finance Executive, Natalie Lloyd, Branding and Venue Styling, Sarah Dubery, Technical and Stage Director and Rakiya Gul, Social Media and Promotions Director.

If you would like to attend you can buy limited-time discounted tickets by clicking here. Tickets will also be available on the night.

Savera UK survivor ambassador Payzee Mahmod

Savera UK celebrates ‘life-saving’ changes as MPs support bill to end child marriage

Savera UK survivor ambassador Payzee Mahmod
Savera UK survivor ambassador Payzee Mahmod

Savera UK welcomes news of the UK Parliament stepping closer to introducing legislation that would end all child marriages.

On Friday, 19th December, the second reading in the House of Commons of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill was supported by both the government and opposition benches.

Savera UK survivor ambassador, Payzee Mahmod, has campaigned tirelessly alongside organisations IKWRO and Karma Nirvana to bring this bill before the government and we applaud their efforts to advocate change.

Savera UK founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, said: “On Friday we moved one step closer to ending child marriage in England and Wales.

“The Bill will not only raise the minimum age of marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales from 16 to 18, but it will also criminalise all marriages involving a child, including religious marriages which are not formally registered.

“We celebrate and welcome these life-saving and transformative changes, which will help organisations like Savera UK hold perpetrators of these practices to account, support survivors and give them back the opportunities and choices that child marriage often cruelly strips from them.

“Along with Karma Nirvana, IKWRO and campaigners like our survivor ambassador Payzee Mahmod, we will continue to support and advocate for those at risk of child marriage and work to eradicate the practice globally.”

Banaz Mahmod

Reported 81% rise in ‘honour’-based abuse offences is ‘tip of the iceberg’, says Savera UK CEO

Last week, The Guardian reported an 81 percent increase in ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) offences in the last five years.

The increase was identified following freedom of information (FoI) requests for data on the number of HBA cases to constabularies across the UK. Twenty-eight out of 39 constabularies responded to these requests, revealing that numbers of such cases have risen from 884 in 2016 to 1,599 in 2020.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the UK’s fourth-largest constabulary, was unable to respond to the FoI request due to the installation of a new IT system, potentially leaving a large gap in true figures.

Banaz Mahmod
Banaz Mahmod was the victim of a so-called ‘honour’ killing in 2006

Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “Last year, 83 percent of referrals into our service were individuals at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse, so this significant increase in cases across the UK is sadly not surprising, but it should be a wake-up call to all of us, including police, social services and educational establishments.

“While increased reporting and people reaching out for help is a positive development, we know from working within affected communities that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Signs of these forms of abuse are too often missed by statutory services, or not dealt with in an appropriate manner, which is why many at risk may not feel like they can come forward for help.

“We agree with Imran Khodabocus from the Family Law Company, who is calling for improved education around ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices, such as forced/child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) and we also stand with the organisations calling for a fresh review of policing of honour-based abuse by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate these issues. During lockdown, calls and referrals to Savera UK increased by 30 percent. We remain committed to supporting survivors and those at risk, regardless of age, culture, sexuality or gender, as well as working with schools and universities, professional services and police forces across the UK to improve understanding and education around these issues.”