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Violence against women

Violence against women – inside and outside the home

There is growing awareness of the crimes of violence, inside and outside the home.  Soroptimists campaign to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

We know that violence in the home harms women in particular and causes great distress to families.  Woking Soroptimists raise awareness about this locally. We also support Your Sanctuary, the charity in Surrey that helps all those who have suffered domestic abuse.

Latest news

July 2021

The UK government is preparing a new law: the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.  The bill talks about how the police should deal with complaints from rape victims.

Victims’ Commission Vera Baird thinks that the bill will not treat rape victims properly.  She proposes different wording for the data extraction power clauses in Part 2 Chapter 3 of The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to deal with the problem.

Go to the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales for more information.

The Centre for Women’s Justice has also written an opinion about the proposed new law.

If you agree with the wording suggested by the Victims’ Commissioner and the Centre for Women’s Justice, write to your MP!

May 2021:

The government has enacted the new law on domestic abuse

It is based on the government’s new strategy to combat violence against women and girls.  Find more about this here.  Victims’ Commission Vera Baird thinks that the bill will not treat rape victims properly.  She proposes different wording to deal with the problem.  Go to the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales for more information.

The Centre for Women’s Justice has also written an opinion about the bill.

Your Sanctuary

June 2021

The Head of Children’s Services at Your Sanctuary came to talk to us in June.  She explained the multiple challenges that children face when they are caught up in a difficult family situation.  The help children receive at Your Sanctuary is tailored to their age and experience.  This essential work is delicate and complex, and calls for good cooperation between many agencies.    A positive recent development is the opening of additional and better accommodation for Surrey families in need.

October 2020

Your Sanctuary said that the impact of Covid 19 was a 61% increase in domestic abuse.  53% of children saw more abuse at home.  78% of domestic abuse survivors thought that the pandemic made it harder to escape from domestic abuse.

These shocking statistics meant that specialist services like Your Sanctuary were working at capacity and beyond.  For example, the Your Sanctuary helpline received 250 calls in June 2019.  In June 2020, the number jumped to 445 calls!  And calls for space in a refuge went from 20 to 60!  Between February and April 2020, the chatline was used twice as much as before!!!

You can help

Regular donations are especially useful at this time and you can give items for Your Sanctuary to sell on Ebay.  More suggestions:

Why do Woking Soroptimists help Your Sanctuary?

Formerly the Women’s Aid Refuge, yourSanctuary has been in Surrey for many years, helping to protect people, especially women and children, from domestic violence.  Your Sanctuary offers practical help, including safe places to say and counselling.  An especially important part of their work is the Children’s Service, with a trained children’s mental health worker and a trained outreach officer.

Your Sanctuary needs practical help and funds so that it can give the help victims need.

Your Sanctuary also needs volunteers. If you are interested, contact WAVS (Woking Volunteer Services) at

How do we help?

We raise funds and  awareness for Your Sanctuary.

For example, we helped Your Sanctuary during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.  In April 2020, we gave £600 to Your Sanctuary.  We knew that  the restrictions on everyday life due to the lockdown could lead to more domestic violence .  So we wanted to help Your Sanctuary to meet the increased call on its services.  We also knew there would be less money to spend on essential services because grants have been cut and no fundraising was possible during lockdown.

We also give practical help

The victims of domestic violence need many kinds of help.  They not only need psychological, medical and legal assistance, they often need very practical help.  They may turn to Your Sanctuary in an emergency and arrive with very few personal belongings.

So we collect toiletries that are given out as emergency supplies.

We respond to urgent calls for help.  In September 2020,  we answered a call for tea towels.  Over 40 tea towels were collected an delivered in a matter of days.  In October 2020, another urgent request came in, this time for a DVD player, plus kitchen towel, hair conditioner and anti-bacterial products.

We delivered a DVD player to Your Sanctuary the next day – so some children in a difficult family situation will have the comfort of watching their favourite film during half-term.  The other items were delivered a few days later.

Help we gave in the past

  • In 2019 , two of our members recently stepped down as Trustees, having served for over nine years. A members sold books in her garden during the Horsell Garden Safari and raised £110 for your Sanctuary
  • In April 2017, we donated a further £100 to Your Sanctuary.
  • During 2013-14 we raised £500.  Your Sanctuary used the money to organise a summer outing for the families they were helping.  We were pleased to have made such a rare and popular treat possible.
  • Our Charity Bridge Afternoon in October 2016 was a joint fundraiser with SI Weybridge. We gave £633 to Your Sanctuary’s telephone helpline – in 2015 it took 2,000 calls.
  • Our Pig-Racing event with SI Weybridge in 2015 raised £720
  • With other SI Clubs in Southern England, we developed a bookmark about what makes a relationship healthy or  unhealthy.
  • Woking Soroptimists regularly help Woking Borough Council to distribute  literature in the town during Domestic Abuse Awareness Week in October.