‘Life-saving’ domestic abuse charity gets funding boost

Hundreds of female victims of domestic abuse will receive ‘life-saving’ mental health support thanks to new funding for a specialist charity.

Woman’s Trust will offer 4,000 free counselling sessions, 240 support group and 600 workshop places, thanks to a £200,000 grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The charity is the only organisation in London whose sole focus is on offering free counselling and therapy to women from across the capital who have experienced domestic abuse and violence.

It says the funding will help it cope with an expected surge in referrals once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, exposing the toll taken on women who have endured enforced confinement with an abusive partner.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Domestic abuse is a hidden crime because it happens in the home and because victims are often gradually isolated from friends and family through the controlling actions of their abuser.

“This funding will enable Woman’s Trust to help even more women across London tackle the impact on their mental health resulting from their experiences, to boost their confidence and to rebuild their lives.”

Woman’s Trust offers specialist one-to-one counselling sessions, small therapy support groups and self-development workshops to help women overcome the lasting impact of domestic abuse and violence.

Around 84 per cent of its clients say they feel highly isolated and 40 per cent have considered suicide. Domestic abuse is also the single largest cause of depression in UK women, with over 60 per cent of survivors experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Heidi Riedel, Woman’s Trust CEO, said:

“Often we help women who have left their abusive partner years before but they’re still suffering from the trauma, isolation and depression caused by their experience – they just didn’t have a name for it or know they could get specialist help.

“If someone is made to feel unworthy, insignificant, unintelligent, unattractive, scared or isolated on a daily basis, it has a cumulative impact and it affects their self-esteem, their ability to work, their future relationships and their relationships with their children. Without the right support, many women live with the effects of abuse for years – even decades.

“Being able to talk to someone who understands but doesn’t judge, who helps them to rediscover their self-worth and to understand it’s not their fault – it can literally be life-saving.”

More information about Woman's Trust is at www.womanstrust.org.uk

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘It felt like someone spoke my language’

Before she went to Woman’s Trust, 32-year-old Maria felt like no-one understood her and she was alienated from other people.

She said: “I was instantly struck with the workshops – it felt like someone spoke my language and for the first time in a long time, I cried. I was overwhelmed at the insight and understanding I gained, and I related to others’ experiences. I then referred myself to counselling. The support was invaluable to my wellbeing and I am very grateful.”

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, has allocated £11 million to the London Community Response, set up to help charities deal with the impact of coronavirus, and has also given over £1.7 million in one-off grants to 202 organisations it already supports to help them offset lost income resulting from the pandemic.

The London Community Response Fund is administered by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge House Estates and Members of its Court of Common Council form the City Bridge Trust Committee, responsible for taking grant and funding decisions for the charity.