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A website aimed at those affected by domestic abuse has been unveiled, to coincide with an international campaign that aims to celebrate women and their achievements.

The new website – launched by West Mercia Women’s Aid – will be available from Friday 8 March, International Women’s Day.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid explained:  “Having a web presence is a vital tool for us in tackling domestic abuse.  It will allow us to communicate with our target markets, promote services, launch campaigns, raise awareness, share information, engage with our client group through discussion and keep our service users, funders, volunteers and supporters informed about what we are doing and what is happening in the world of domestic abuse.”

The new website,, offers the following features :

  • An online helpline referral form for agencies and women who would like to self refer;
  • Video clips from project work undertaken;
  • Twitter and Facebook feeds;
  • News feeds; Donation platform;
  • Newsletter sign up;
  • Events calendars showing events and scheduled group programmes;
  • Discussion forums;
  • Downloadable resources for women, employers and practitioners.

The website complements the CRUSH website – - a local West Mercia Women’s Aid campaign which aims to help and support the increasing number of teenagers affected by domestic violence; the programme, funded by the Big Lottery’s Young People’s Fund, provides an experiential resource that aims to help teenagers, aged 13 to 19 years, avoid abusive relationships, end an abusive relationship safely or better manage their exposure to domestic abuse in the household in which they live.

Targeted at prospective and existing service users, survivors, funders, practitioners, volunteers and the general public, the new website is already seeing Google Alerts picking up some of the website content and sharing this with millions of people who have signed up to receive domestic abuse or teenage domestic abuse alerts.  Importantly, the website will enhance West Mercia Women’s Aids’ credibility as well as providing an excellent tool for raising awareness about the issue.

International Women’s Day is a global event celebrating the economic, social and political achievements of women; in China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.  The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911.

So far this year, more than 350 events have been planned to mark the event in the UK alone.

Jan concluded : “We are really excited to be launching our new website on International Women’s Day.  With so many women now accessing information online, the site will enable us to communicate our message of hope and empowerment to many more as well as offering them access to support, advice and services which can help them to reach safety and recovery from domestic abuse.

“West Mercia Women’s Aid wholeheartedly supports International Women’s Day.”

Over the past 30 year, West Mercia Women’s Aid has promoted International Women’s Day by supporting national events and local initiatives, arranging awareness raising activities in town centres and organising fundraising events.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is ‘The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.”

Information about International Women’s Day can be found at

West Mercia Women’s Aid was launched in Hereford, where – as in other parts of the country – it grew out of the women’s movement of the late 1960s and early 70s, when the issue of violence in the home became a national focus.  The group came together made up entirely of committed volunteers, many of them survivors of domestic abuse.  The initial task was to raise awareness and lobby for services but the group soon realised the urgent need to provide support and a helpline and advocacy service was set up – again entirely run by volunteers – to support and provide practical assistance to women in Herefordshire.

Since then the organisation has gone from strength to strength; in May 2006, it took over both Worcester and Malvern’s Women’s Aid and Wyre Forest Women’s Aid and – in April 2007 – effected a full merger with Shropshire Women’s Aid becoming West Mercia Women’s Aid.  It now employs 44 staff and 12 volunteers, running a 24 hour helpline, 3 refuges and a well developed and expanding outreach service in each county, which includes the provision of community support to families in all three counties, group  programmes and links to education and employment opportunities.

West Mercia Women’s Aid is a full member of the Women’s Aid Federation of England; Jan Frances was Chair of the Women’s Aid National Board of Management for 4 years and continues to serve as a member of the National Board.