Since 2009, we have fought for the rights of migrant women who have experienced gender based violence. Based in the North West of England - but with a global outlook - we are a feminist and anti-racist organisation with a vision for a world in which all migrant women are safe and live lives free from patriarchal and state violence.
Safety4Sisters was established in Manchester in 2009 to address the exclusion of migrant women (particularly those with 'no recourse to public funds') from the most basic rights of safety and protection. We work toward this through our campaigning work - targeting legislation that excludes migrant women from statutory and voluntary provision that should protect them; through educating and challenging organisations and the public to uphold the human rights of migrant women - and bearing witness and documenting where this does not happen; and through the creation of spaces for sisterhood in which the individual stories of migrant women - their experiences of disempowerment and struggle for survival - are transformed into collective stories and collective action.
In 2016 we ran a pilot project - the Migrant Women’s Rights to Safety project. This delivered support, advocacy and advice to secure the safety of 61 women who were experiencing gender-based violence and were homeless or faced potential homelessness. Alongside we ran a women’s support group to attend holistically to the emotional and mental health needs of migrant women. Following the conclusion of the pilot project we produced an extensive report which highlighted the huge barriers faced when reporting violence to authorities and support organisations.
We are proud to have won the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize (2016) for our 'outstanding contribution' in work towards ending male violence against women.
The core work of Safety4Sisters is the Migrant Women’s Support Group that gives voice to migrant women fleeing abuse. This is a space which attends to the dynamics of both gender based violence and immigration controls, and which connects individual experiences with wider women's struggles.
During the school holidays we run weekly trips with the women and children - most importantly these are fun, but we’re also working to ensure that migrant families are able to access public space. We work with organisations to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible to migrant women.
We want to share our expertise and in 2017 we were published in the journal “Families, Relationships and Societies”. See our article: “Group Work - A powerful site of resistance for migrant women experiencing gender based violence.”
We provide support and training to other organisations to better inform services for migrant women (contact us if you'd like more information about how we can help your organisation).
We hold public events and conferences to highlight and campaign for the rights of migrant women in the UK. These focus on issues of race, class, immigration and gender in relation to access, safety and inclusion in support services and public spaces generally.
For International Women's Day 2018 we held a conference at the People's History Museum, Manchester, where we - alongside leading national organisations in the VAWG sector - mobilised to demand justice for migrant women.
Safety4Sisters collaborates with other campaigners and organisations who are challenging the barriers migrant women face in their lives. We speak at events so that we can narrate the issues faced by migrant women who have experienced gender based violence.
In June 2018 Safety4Sisters joined Gal-dem, Dr Sumita Mukherjee & RECLAIM alumni in The Runnymede Trust’s public debate; Votes for Who?: Intersectional Suffrage in which we discussed who has been left out of the conversation on Women's Rights and what campaigners and policymakers are doing to push for equality now in Manchester and the North West.
Safety4Sisters is committed to the inclusion and representation of migrant women as part of our campaigning work. We look for creative ways to engage the public to recognise and acknowledge the ways in which migrant women’s voices have been silenced.
In June 2018 Safety4Sisters had an exhibition at the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, at the People's History Museum which, through a stark visual display of shoes from the migrant women’s support group, invited the public to walk in their shoes, and think of their lack of representation in the history of women’s emancipation in the UK.
Our international outlook means that we work with organisations across Europe to ensure safety and support for migrant women subject to gender based violence. In Summer 2018 we presented at the conference: “Migrant and Refugee Women’s Integration and Empowerment in Europe: Common challenges, good practices and opportunities for improved support” in Rome, Italy.
In August 2018 Safety4Sisters accompanied Southall Black Sisters to Calais and Dunkirk to support and give solidarity to The Refugee Women’s Centre, a project developed by L’Auberge des Migrants to support women stranded in informal camps in France.
OUR PROJECT REPORT
In 2016, we compiled a report that documents a one year pilot project that sought to provide specialist support to migrant women with experience of gender based violence. This report and the work it is based on is the foundation of our work at Safety4Sisters. You can download this report by clicking on the button below.