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Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

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

January 2021:


The government is preparing a new strategy to combat violence against women and girls for 2021-2024.  You are invited to send in evidence to help shape this strategy.  The deadline for sending contributions is 19 February 2021.  Find more about this here.

The government is also looking to update the laws on domestic violence.  Some people want a new offence to be create: non-fatal strangulation.  Read a BBC News article about this here.

Your Sanctuary

Soon, Your Sanctuary will be operating a second refuge in Woking.  It will be able to give shelter to thirty families.

In October, Your Sanctuary launched a petition about changing the domestic violence law.  Read on for details.

October 2020:

Your Sanctuary says 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 mean that in reality specialist services like Your Sanctuary are 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!!!

On the plus side, Your Sanctuary says that a much-needed new refuge will open later this year.  It will be able to help its developing specialist services for children and young people.

You can help:  regular donations are especially useful at this time and you can give items for Your Sanctuary to sell on Ebay.  See the link below.

September 2020: Your Sanctuary launched a new campaign.

Petition on behalf of domestic abuse survivors

What does Your Sanctuary say?

❗️In England and Wales, almost 1 in 3 women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
😥The men and women who experience DA are not currently protected under the Equality Act 2010.
👩‍🦰 We believe that this law must be changed to offer support/adjustment for the emotional and practical implications of domestic abuse on survivors in the workplace. This will sustain their employment and support them at their most vulnerable.
✍️ The government are currently consulting on how survivors can be better protected at work, which makes the timing of our campaign all the more powerful.
🙏 Please make your voice heard by sharing this post and following the link below to sign our petition.
⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

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.