Jewish Women’s Aid sets up emergency welfare fund
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JWA Campaign#AMaskWontProtectHer

Jewish Women’s Aid sets up emergency welfare fund

With more than 500 domestic abuse victims having sought JWA's help during the pandemic so far, it has set up a welfare grant and launched its #AMaskWontProtectHer campaign

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Jewish Women’s Aid reports a big rise in women seeking assistance
Jewish Women’s Aid reports a big rise in women seeking assistance

More than 500 domestic abuse victims have sought help since the beginning of the pandemic, while support for children rose by nearly a third, a leading Jewish charity revealed as it launched a special awareness campaign.

Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA) helped 545 women and children between April to September, newly released figures show.

In June alone, 150 women sought assistance – a 22 per cent rise on the figure for the same month in 2019 – while demand for counselling also saw an increase by 28 per cent for the month of July.

JWA also reported a sharp rise in the number of children receiving support.

The latest figures show the charity helped 30 per cent more children compared to last year, while demand for children’s therapy sessions rocketed by 67 per cent.

For the first time since JWA was founded 25 years ago, the charity has set up an emergency welfare grant fund and has distributed almost £20,000 in grants for food, nappies, electricity and other household needs.

As the charity today launched its new campaign, #AMaskWontProtectHer, CEO Naomi Dickson said:There has never been a time when external societal conditions have had such a negative effect on women experiencing domestic abuse.”

She added: “Abusers are manipulating well-intended anti-Covid measures to control and torment Jewish women. Our dedicated staff are doing everything they can to support the increasing number of women and their children, but we need our community to take collective responsibility for making sure that women feel they can reach out for support.”

The campaign aims to shine a spotlight on how victims of domestic abuse have been directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and coincides with 16 Days of Activism, a global campaign to counter violence against women, which begins on 25 November.

Alongside a fundraising drive, the charity has organised the cross-communal Jewish Women’s Aid Shabbat, which takes place this weekend and aims to promote domestic abuse awareness with special resource packs sent out to communities.

JWA patron Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, said: “We would like to believe that such illegal and shameful conduct does not afflict our Jewish community. Sadly, however, that’s not the reality. Prior to the pandemic there was a very real problem with domestic abuse within Jewish homes and during the pandemic we have seen a tragic increase in this phenomenon.”

Emma Barnett (Photo credit: Lia Toby/PA Wire)

Elsewhere, more than 270 people have so far registered for London Unmasked, a free online event featuring broadcaster and journalist Emma Barnett in conversation with bestselling author Noreena Hertz and Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs, as they discuss the impact of the pandemic on women experiencing domestic abuse.

For details of the event, visit jwa.org.uk/unmasked, or to contact the JWA helpline, call 0808 801 0500.

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