Almost £50,000 given to help women affected by domestic abuse.
More than 300 women in Birmingham who are suffering financial hardship as a result of domestic violence and abuse will get a helping hand this winter from international humanitarian charity, Islamic Relief UK.
IRUK is supporting the Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid charity to help women who are on the breadline and struggling to pay fuel bills to heat their homes. The Winter Fuel Poverty programme, is part of Islamic Relief’s winter campaign. Islamic Relief is providing £49,500 to BSWAid which is then distributed as a £150 individual fuel grant to 330 women.
Financial abuse can be a significant barrier to a woman leaving her abuser. A study conducted by Women’s Aid/TUC found 52% of respondents were still living with their abuser because they had no money of their own. However, many women who have been forced to leave their family home as a result of violence and abuse by their husband or partner often return due to the financial hardships they encounter.
These payments are given to women who have been re-housed so they don’t feel compelled to return to the home they left where they were suffering violence and abuse by a husband or someone else in the household.
Imran Madden, Islamic Relief’s UK Director, said: “The practical value of a woman being able to put on her heating or purchase adequate clothing and bedding to help keep the family warm is unquestionable. This is the kind of intervention that could stop a woman being forced to return to a very dangerous situation, back in the family home. Islamic Relief is proud to support BSWAid in their work to make the lives of families affected by domestic violence and abuse safer”.
Islamic Relief believes that the emotional and psychological impact of being valued and trusted enough to be given money gives a very strong message of support to a woman who has been undermined and questioned at every turn. At a time when she is feeling that she cannot cope on her own, a grant to enable her to pay a fuel bill and feed her children properly boosts her self-esteem and empowers her to take control and see that she can cope with her situation.
Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, said: “We are so pleased to be working with Islamic Relief around the issue of fuel poverty and very grateful for the financial support for woman and children affected by domestic violence. Women we support are often left in dire financial straits as a result of the abuse they have experienced and we constantly hear about women being afraid to put their heating on because they are worried about the bills. The level of poverty we are witnessing where women make choices between eating and heating their homes is growing rapidly.
“Thanks to Islamic Relief’s generous funding, women are already telling us that the grants have been invaluable, particularly during the recent freezing weather. It is so important that a key funder like Islamic Relief has grasped the link between poverty and domestic violence, and is highlighting the issue whilst taking steps by offering practical support that makes a difference to women’s and children’s lives. We very much look forward to further developing this relationship to benefit vulnerable women and children.”
Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid supports women and children affected by abuse in all its forms including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and forced marriage. Many women and children escaping domestic violence often arrive at a BSWAid refuge with nothing. Most of the women they support suffer from severe poverty as a result of the abuse they have experienced.