1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse, 1 in 4 women are raped or sexually assaulted and 1 in 3 women experience some form of harassment. Women are disproportionately affected by poverty, domestic abuse, and exploitation and until this is not the case, it is vital that women have bespoke services which cater to their specific needs, which includes safe spaces like Women Centres.
It is in the context of structural and societal inequality that women face multiple disadvantages including, but not limited to, mental health issues, domestic abuse, homelessness, and substance use, and often are sole carers for dependants. They will then face multiple barriers in trying to access support in relation to such issues, which is often compounded by other intersecting identities such as sexuality, disability, and race.
Most services are not set up to work with and support with the various complexities faced by women, and this requires long-term support. In response, Advance has 11 Women’s Centres, across London and six English regions including Hampshire, Kent, Thames Valley, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. At the core, they are value driven, gender and trauma informed, and work with women one on one, to address their needs in the way that they want. As well as providing access to groups and workshops, to support with needs and build on confidence and existing strengths in safe women only spaces with peers, and volunteer (lived experience) Peer Mentors. It is also a place where women can access necessities such as period products, clothing and baby formula, as well as access to computers, showers and washing machines. Ultimately, the Women Centres are spaces where women can join in, be themselves; somewhere they can share, learn, laugh, and heal.
Women were also asked to provide feedback of Advance Women’s Centres:
We asked Advance Women Centre Coordinators across our all locations about the importance of their Women’s Centres:
We know it will take a while for centre engagement to pick up in line with the number of women we are currently supporting as a service but with the amazing feedback we have received and the timetables we are offering and planning to offer we are confident with the support of probation, the centre visits will be a vital component in our holistic women’s service.”
- The Minerva service is part of our wider Criminal Justice services. Advance support’s women in contact with the criminal justice system in Women’s Centres across London, Hampshire, Kent, Thames Valley, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Find out more
- Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Get help
- For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit Our impact