Aylesbury Woman’s Aid Refuge (AWA) is celebrating thirty years of providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

As many as 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.
As many as 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Aylesbury Women’s Aid is a charity that was set up in 1986 by a small group of women who were concerned that there was no provision for women being abused by their partners in the Aylesbury area.

AWA offers refuge accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic abuse, including an outreach service where people who call for information, advocacy and expert advice.

April Benson, who has worked at the refuge for 13 years, said: “When I came on board there were only 5 full time staff and three part time workers. It’s a testament to where we are at that we now have 12 full time employees.”

“AWA came to fruition in 1986 – where a group of women got together after realising that something needed to be done for victims of domestic violence. They campaigned and lobbied for funding to get noticed.”

Later that year they secured the funding for their first property, a 4 bedroomed house in Aylesbury Vale.

“We’ve come a long way from the first property that AWA acquired, we’ve now grown and achieved funding for a purpose built refuge that can accommodate for up to 14 families.”

“It’s sad we see so many people suffering. The fact when we started in 1986, there were only three staff to now where we have 12 shows what an important, and distressingly prevalant issue this still is in society.”

“It’s nice to be recognised for our work – we’ve been helping people now for 30 years. There are two trustees on our board who have been here from the beginning, which is a remarkable achievement.”

“We’re a right knit group and all get on really well. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, we’re all very passionate about the work we do. We must continue to fight the issues around domestic violence and the inequalities in relationships.”

Aylesbury Women Aid’s mission statement is: “To exist for the benefit of all women and their children who are or have experienced physical, mental, emotional, financial or sexual abuse in their relationships and to offer support, information, advice, access to temporary safe accommodation and aftercare.”

Aylesbury Women’s Aid work from a feminist perspective and is committed to the principle of self-help and encourages women to determine their own futures by making information available in an accessible way and supporting women to make their own choices.

All women with or without children who would like to use the services are welcome regardless of age, class, ethnic origin, disability, sexuality, nationality, religion or cultural beliefs.