At IKWRO we work with Kurdish, Farsi, Dari, Arabic and Turkish speaking women living in the UK. From our London office we provide advice and support to women and girls facing a whole range of problems – forced marriage, ‘honour’ based violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse and even female genital mutilation. Sometimes, we’re the only lifeline they have.
‘But what exactly do you do?’ people often ask us.
And we say ‘a lot of things!’
In an average day we could be finding space in a refuge for a woman who’s escaped an abusive partner, or we might be helping a young girl to get police protection because her own family are threatening to kill her. There are family court hearings to attend, social workers to ring, immigration forms to fill. And there’s building our clients’ confidence too, reassuring them that things will get better, that they will be able to manage on their own.
We also go out to the communities where vulnerable women live and let them know about their rights and the ways in which we can protect them. It’s not always easy to win these women’s trust, but we speak their language and we know where they’re coming from, and that helps.
And then of course there’s campaigning – which means pushing for changes to the law that will make it easier for our clients to lead safe, happy lives. There’s a lot to take on: failing laws on female genital mutilation, a Forced Marriage Act that’s not tough enough, unresolved cases of ‘honour’ killing and immigration rules that make it hard for women who do not have indefinite leave to remain here to get out of abusive relationships and find space in a refuge.
‘So where do I come in?’ we hear you ask.
Right here. We’re using this blog to share stories about the vital work we do and to spread the word about our campaigns. Stay in touch with us and share the blog with all your friends. Go on! It’s only a few clicks, but you could help us to make a real difference.