- Advertisement -
Monday, 19 October 2020


Savera UK appoints first ever CEO

- Advertisement -
SAVERA UK, a leading charity tackling culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse and violence (HBA/HBV) forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK, has appointed its first-ever chief executive officer.

Charity founder, Afrah Qassim, was appointed as CEO in May after ten years as the Chair of the organisation’s board of directors. Savera UK’s former Vice-Chair, Aislinn O’Dwyer, a public health professional with a community nursing background, has now stepped up into the role of Chair.

Afrah’s appointment comes at a challenging time for the charity, after the UK Government lockdown to combat the COVID-19 outbreak prompted a 30 percent increase in calls to the service from individuals and professionals requiring specialist support and guidance.

The charity also reported a significant spike in existing clients contacting the organisation for additional emotional and practical support during the lockdown, increasing the number of active cases Savera UK is managing.

Speaking of her appointment during the COVID-19 outbreak, Afrah said:

“It is an unprecedented and unpredictable time to be taking up the role of CEO. There have been many challenges in my first months as CEO and there will be more to face as the country comes out of lockdown.

“Like many organisations supporting survivors of and people at risk of ‘honour’-based and culturally-specific abuse, we are feeling the demand on our services and are anticipating a spike in new cases, yet we still remain significantly underfunded.

“However, since Savera UK’s establishment almost a decade ago, we have managed to work outside of the box and address challenges creatively to ensure we can effectively support our clients and break the silence around these horrific practices.

“We have set up a helpline, developed training for professionals and for schools and established one-to-one and group support services for our clients. These are all services that simply did not exist in the region ten years ago.

“I am looking forward to navigating the charity through these difficult times with the support of our dedicated staff, volunteers and board of directors. We will continue to work collaboratively to support people at risk in abusive environments, speak out against culturally-specific forms of abuse and educate the next generation, so that they might be the ones to end harmful practices.”

Savera UK’s new Chair, Aislinn O’Dwyer, added:

“This is a really important time for Savera UK. ‘Honour’-based abuse takes place within families, where controlling behaviours are used in order to protect cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.

“The period of COVID-19 lockdown will certainly have exacerbated these controlling behaviours. This can be seen by the statistics above.

“Savera UK is definitely not closed, it is open for business. We have continued to support our clients throughout the lockdown period, and will continue to get our regular services back on track as restrictions are lifted.”

On Tuesday 14th July, the National Day of Memory 2020, Savera UK will be hosting a special free webinar My Story, My Savera, to pay tribute to victims of ‘honour’ killings and ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) across the world and shine the spotlight on survivors sharing their stories as a beacon of hope. For more information or to register, visit: https://my-story-my-savera.eventbrite.co.uk

For help and support please contact the Savera UK helpline 0800 107 0726 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm). In an emergency, please call 999.

To find out more about Savera UK and the services it offers, visit: saverauk.co.uk

Sign up to receive full FREE access to charity news and special sector offers.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected


Must Read

Matt Baker returns for The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge in its 10th year

THE iconic challenge which has seen Matt Baker travel thousands of miles alongside children and young people, who have been supported by BBC Children...

Record numbers of UK nationals need help to break free from slavery

NEW figures show The Salvation Army supported 79% more British slavery survivors than the previous year despite a fall in referrals during lockdown. Although the...
- Advertisement -

Employment News

Kate Cooper-Owen joins Comic Relief’s top team as Creative Director

COMIC Relief has announced another exciting new appointment to their top team with Kate Cooper-Owen set to join as Creative Director. Kate will play a...

Special Olympics GB welcomes two new faces to the team

SPECIAL Olympics GB is delighted to announce the appointment of Pete Rhodes and Ben Miller to the organisation with immediate effect. Pete Rhodes takes on...

World Vision UK appoints new Chief Executive

INTERNATIONAL children's charity World Vision UK has appointed Mark Sheard as Chief Executive Officer. Mr Sheard, who has served as interim CEO since March, will...

Related News

Family complete Kiltwalk in memory of father who died in WW2

It was both a poignant and proud occasion for a Glasgow family who took part in the Virtual Kiltwalk this year. Four generations of...

First friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism launches virtually in Flintshire

ZOOM dates, an online supper club and web-based karaoke are just some of the activities on offer as Flintshire’s first friendship and dating service...

Charity invites public to sleep on sofas to highlight hidden homeless

WEST Yorkshire charity, Simon on the Streets is encouraging residents, businesses, and families to participate in a lockdown-friendly fundraising event, where they spend the...

Shelter to host ‘UK’s biggest carol concert’ in support of families facing homelessness this Christmas

THIS winter, housing and homelessness charity Shelter are aiming to host the UK's biggest virtual carol concert. The concert will bring the nation together...

Devon locals with learning disabilities create stop-motion animation to help halt disabled hate

A new stop-motion animation created by people with learning disabilities and their support workers in Devon is hoping to raise awareness of disability hate...
- Advertisement -