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Vote - Savera UK (Community Organisation Award - Multi-Strand)

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The renaming of ‘Savera Liverpool’ to ‘Savera UK’ represents a number of changes that have taken place at the charity since its inception in 2010. When Savera Liverpool was first created, it was intended to address a specific problem in the Liverpool area. ‘Savera’ meaning ‘new beginning’ in Hindi, was symbolic of the support the charity would provide to those women who are at risk of domestic abuse and harmful practices such as honour-based violence (HBV), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. The charity sought to raise awareness of these issues. It became apparent that the role of the charity had to be broadened to a wider geographic area and that the issues were not limited by gender. Males are also vulnerable to HBV and require specific support and tools to address the challenges they face. It was decided that Savera’s scope must then be expanded.

Savera UK aims to address, challenge and provide the tools to tackle this cultural taboo. Time and again the charity has found that the communities within which this violence takes place are not fully equipped to confront the issue. This extends to the professionals who are tasked with being the first line of response. The work that Savera UK undertakes will provide a multi-agency approach to ensure that no vulnerable individuals will be left unaided and can rely on the institutions that are there to protect.

Savera UK’s Aim:

Savera UK operates across the United Kingdom to provide services to individuals from Black Minority Ethnic communities who are at risk of domestic abuse.

The scope of Savera UK’s services may vary from area to area, dependent on the funding available within the specific region.

Service provision by Savera UK:

•provide 1-1 support

•Provide advocacy support

•Provide cultural, advice and information for professional

• Develop and deliver training, conferences workshops etc to raise awareness and tackling domestic abuse and harmful practices

•Collaborate with services on range of project and engagement

. Work at strategic and operational level

.Participate in research project

The Meaning of 'Savera’:

Savera means ‘new beginning or change’ in Hindi, which is how the charity views itself: operating within the BME community by helping and supporting people build a new life after they leave their abusive home or family. The charity is intent upon supporting individuals to stabilise themselves once they have left their abusive environment.

A statement from the client in respond to our help and support “Savera helped me so much, if it wasn’t for them I’d be stuck in a hopeless marriage, I would have stuck with it only because of family honour, Savera taught me that my life matters, even when I thought it never did….I’m eternally grateful”.

With regards to our effective partnership working we obtained a statement from Detective Sergeant Richard Smith of Merseyside Police about our partnership and the work we do from a police perspective.

“Savera UK have become an integral part of Merseyside Police's response to Honour Based Abuse. The number of Honour cases increases to grow as awareness improves. When Honour Based protocols are invoked, one of the first actions is to refer the victim to Savera. Whilst the Police priority is to Safeguard the victim, Savera staff provide a level of personal support, advice and guidance which can take many forms and are specific to each client's needs. Whilst the Police may focus on criminal matters, it is my opinion that victims are often more comfortable disclosing to and being supported by staff at Savera due to the rapport and level of trust established. These matters ultimately involve threats to life, and the support of Savera working together with the Police is an essential part of reducing and hopefully negating the risk to the victim.”

From our engagement with BME communities, we have highlighted a taboo subject and campaigned to ensure such issues are recognised and tackled within both service provision ensuring appropriate and responding to the client when asking for help as well working with communities to raise awareness and challenge such practices and this despite the funding and resources that we often face. The work of Savera was done in a voluntary basis, only till 2016 where then were successful in the Big Lottery Fund (Women and Girls Initiative) that allow us to recruit a small team to establish our one to one support service which has already met the target and more, there are great ambition that we would like to develop and deliver, but the lack of resources and funding, many time put us on hold and restrict our vision. Savera UK’s vision not just to work within Merseyside and Cherisher, but to reach beyond those binderies and be able to help, support those who are victim or under treat of such practice, but also ensure such issues are tackled and challenged across services as well and the community. Currently only able to offer face to face support to those who fall within our funded area, but our helpline receive call from across the UK and also has received calls from outside the UK, requiring of information and these some of the difficulties that we face due to resources.

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