Over forty years ago Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) set out to provide safe accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse. As Exeter Women's Aid we established and managed the Exeter Refuge until its closure in 2014. Over the decades SAFE has supported thousands of individuals and families to be safe and to recover from the harm caused by violence and abuse. In those early years SAFE was heavily reliant on volunteers to deliver vital support and safe accommodation until eventually funding was obtained to employ staff and grow our services.
Today SAFE continues to provide vital services for those affected by domestic violence and abuse working out in the community, in schools and from the SAFE hub, as it's called by staff and volunteers.
Domestic violence and abuse is a gendered issue. Statistics show that most domestic and sexual violence is committed by men, even though most men are not violent. It also shows that women and children are most likely to be victims. This is reflected in our every day work at SAFE.
Domestic violence and abuse also happens in same sex relationships, across all socio-economic groups and cultures. At SAFE we believe that all victims of domestic and sexual abuse deserve specialist support. We acknowledge that men can also be victims of violence and abuse in intimate and family relationships and know that the experience for women and men is different. Our team are trained to respond to the differing needs of victims.
At SAFE we recognise that gender is important to understanding and responding to keep families safe and reducing the harm caused by violence.
We also know that other forms of inequality and disadvantage interact leaving some groups of people and their families more vulnerable to and trapped by domestic violence and abuse, such as women with learning difficulties, women from different cultural backgrounds and women from poorer communities.
Equality, Respect, Diversity, Empowerment and Partnership
Working together to end domestic violence and abuse by
Responding effectively to domestic violence and abuse requires partnerships between public and private agencies, voluntary organisations, victims and their families.
We believe that we all have a role and responsibility to protect and support victims and to hold those who choose to use violence to account. Domestic violence and abuse is preventable if we work together. To find out more about our partnerships and how you and your organisation or group can work with us see our page on our partnerships.
Our feminist roots have shaped our understanding and approach to domestic violence. Feminism identifies the fundamental differences in power – or inequalities- that exist on the basis of gender and the impact this has on women individually and collectively. It assists us to recognise power differences within other oppressed groups and how some groups are impacted by multiple forms of oppression and disadvantage based on gender, race and so forth.
Today feminism also guides our work with boys and young men. We support boys to be themselves and to challenge norms of masculinity that are based on dominance, violence, restrictive emotions and notions that girls and women are inferior. We believe we all have a role in promoting the positive, healthy and respectful development of boys and young men.
At SAFE we believe that gender equality is good for everyone.
Here is a great talk by Michael Kimmel on You Tube good on why equality is good for everyone http://www.ted.com/talks?sort=newest&q=michael+kimmel