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History of BSWA

our story

Before Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA) there was no provision for women and children escaping domestic violence and abuse in the area.

In the late 1970s, a group of women created a squat in an empty building and gave shelter to women fleeing abuse. Although this refuge was not official, local housing workers and police referred women and their children there.

This project became BSWA.

In 1980 we opened our first official refuge in the south of Birmingham. In the early days, BSWA ran as a collective but by the end of the 1980s, it had developed a management structure and secured funding for paid staff, although volunteers have always been key to delivering our services.

In the late 1970s, a group of women created a squat in an empty building and gave shelter to women fleeing abuse. Although this refuge was not official, local housing workers and police referred women and their children there. This project became BSWA.

BSWA Today

Almost 40 years on, we are now the leading provider of services for women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse in the West Midlands.

But our role extends beyond these frontline support role for women and children;

  • we advocate for the rights of ALL women
  • we educate, we train and inspire action
  • we campaign for change

Over the years we have built close working partnerships with agencies such as housing and the police to ensure the best outcomes for women and their children.

We operate through public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and charitable donations. We now have two success charity shops in Shirley and Boldmere raising vital funds to support our work.

“We work hard to ensure the voices of women are heard, that their stories are well told and that their safety and the safety of their children remains the priority.”

Maureen Connolly – Chief Executive, BSWA

BSWA has always taken a broad approach to violence against women issues, acknowledging the breadth of oppression and abuse experienced by women.

Over the years, we have received funding for projects supporting women and young girls around forced marriage, female genital mutilation and gang violence.  We continue to provide specialist support services in these areas.

The needs of women and children across our region are constantly evolving, we develop our services so that they remain flexible and responsive to those changing needs.

A pile of beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts under a tree.

Support the BSWA Christmas Gift Appeal 2019

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Volunteer with BSWA.

Support women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse in your local community.

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