Thursday, September 14, 2017


Ministers have confirmed they will press ahead with plans to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to register to vote anonymously.

Under existing legislation, domestic abuse survivors must provide a court order or have their application supported by a senior independent witness, such as a police superintendent, in order to appear anonymously on the electoral register.
These strict requirements have deterred many from registering at all – prompting a campaign by charities and survivors to make it more accessible.
The government’s changes will increase the number of people who can act as witnesses, including medical and healthcare professionals and refuge workers, and expand the type of evidence which can be put forward.
Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, said:
Ensuring every eligible person is able to vote is a matter of social justice. Every voice matters and this government will continue to encourage our record levels of democratic participation by ensuring we have a democracy that works for everyone.


Friday, March 31, 2017





We are all survivors of domestic violence, it affects our lives and the lives of our children. Individually our stories are unique but we are united in our determination to make a change.
Since speaking out about our abuse many people have shared their experiences with us. One story we hear time and time again is of ex-partners breaching their licenses or restraining orders. But when the breach is reported to the police often nothing happens. The perpetrator does not face consequences and is not arrested.
That's why we've started this petition calling on Theresa May to review licenses given to perpetrators of domestic violence, and make sure victims are protected.
When you report domestic violence to the police and a partner is convicted, you should be confident that you will be protected from them. The power of arrest should mean the power of arrest and as a matter of priority. If a perpetrator breaks their license and contacts their victim, they should know without a shadow of a doubt they will be arrested. Or if they breach any of the restrictions listed added to an order / license they should be held accountable as stated and signed by the judge, again as a matter of priority.
People who have experienced domestic abuse should not have to live in fear for the rest of their lives.  
When Theresa May was Home Secretary she often spoke up for the rights of victims of domestic abuse. Now she is Prime Minister we hope she will stand up for us once again and use her authority to carry out the reviews necessary to make sure the system works for victims of domestic violence and that the laws set are upheld.
Please join us & sign our petition! We believe with a united voice we will be heard. 
We will keep shouting until we see change. 
Let's put an end to domestic abuse, we owe it to the next generation, our children and our grandchildren. 
By Rachel Williams, Mandy Thomas & Becky O'Brien

We should never have to bury our children
because of a failing government !!!



     This petition will be delivered to:
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party

Monday, September 19, 2016


  • Documenting The Legacy of War

    Giles Duley: Photographer, writer, storyteller

    Award-winning photographer Giles will talk about how he tells the stories of the people he focuses his lens on, including refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. Giles’ photographs draw the viewer to the subject, creating intimacy and empathy. His stories encapsulate the strength of individuals who are fighting adversity. Giles lost both legs and an arm whilst photographing the US army in Afghanistan in 2011. He will discuss how he connects with the people he captures on film and aims to make their voices heard.

  • Turning Pain into Power through the Power of Love

    Lorraine Jones: Pastor and community campaigner

    What do you do when you’re faced with life changing challenges which invade your quality of life, environment and community?  In a society where regeneration is implemented but it seems that only the structures and systems have changed. The People that count have been further disempowered the impact of youth violence has risen causing more pain in the community.  In her talk Lorraine will share her quest of how she turns Pain into Power through the Power of Love.

  • My Journey to Europe

    Hassan Akkad: Storyteller

    Hassan will share his personal story of fleeing his home and job as an English teacher in Damascus, Syria to journey to Europe. He will share his experience of turning the camera on himself in the BBC2 documentary Exodus to record this life-risking journey that thousands of refugees have made.  He has provided a voice for many unheard refugee stories and he’ll discuss the implications of this.

  • Telling my story to help others share theirs

    Mandy Thomas: Author, artist, poet, justice advocate, media-commentator

    Mandy will share her personal story of being in an abusive relationship and how this led her to campaign about domestic abuse. Through her voluntary work for Women’s Aid as a “survivor ambassador” and by speaking at conferences on the issue, Mandy has done so much to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Her experiences even informed the Radio 4 series ‘The Archers’’ recent high profile domestic abuse storyline.

  • Building on our Experience to Change the Future

    Naveed and Samiya Parvez- Andiamo: Founders of Andiamo- revolutionising orthotics

    Andiamo was founded after husband and wife Naveed and Samiya had their son Diamo in 2003. He had a difficult birth due to medical negligence leading to Cerebral Palsy and sadly passed away in March 2012. Andiamo will recount their journey so far; how their difficult personal experience spurred them on to advance this technology to ensure that no child anywhere in the world has to wait more than a week for their orthotics device.

  • My Beautiful Black Dog

    Brigitte Aphrodite: Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl

    Brigitte Aphrodite is a Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl. Brigitte will perform songs and poems from her critically acclaimed musical ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ which tackles the complexity of our mental health and challenges the stigma that surrounds depression but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful. Brigitte has performed at Reading and Leeds Festival, Latitute, Bestival and sold out runs at the South Bank WOW festival and Hackney Showroom.

  • Dropping the P Bomb

    Emma Lawton: Creative director, campaigner, writer

    Three years ago, when the digital agency Emma works for as a creative director was redesigning the Parkinson’s UK website, she was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease herself. She was 29. Emma will share her personal story of how being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a young age has changed her view of the condition.

  • Re-writing the Labels that Hold Us Back

    Sam Smith: Social entrepreneur and youth advocate

    Sam will share his own personal story of how he has overcome barriers from his tough background and rejected the labels given to him to become a successful social entrepreneur. He’ll challenge us to help support and empower future generations and give them to confidence to choose their own identity.

  • Why Jodie is Fighting for Equal Opportunities

    Jodie Clark: Employment Officer, Advocate for Young People with Disabilities

    Disabled people are four times as likely to be unemployed as the non-disabled. Many are not being given the opportunity to show what they have to offer facing barriers to finding employment. Jodie knows this from personal experience, she overcame these challenges and is now taking a stand to ensure young people with disabilities are given more equal employment opportunities. She won’t be stifled by systems; she reaches out directly to chief executives to bring about change for other young people like her.

  • A Mile in My Shoes

    Empathy Museum: Experiential Arts Space

    The Empathy Museum is the world’s first experiential arts space dedicated to helping us all look at the world through other people’s eyes. Their immersive exhibits explore how empathy can not only transform personal relationships but also help tackle global challenges and open up the public conversation around empathy at a time of increasing conflict. They’ll be bringing a selection of their brilliant stories and shoes from ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ to Conway Hall. You can delve into their interactive shoe shop and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally. Their diverse collection of shoes and audio stories explore our shared humanity. From a sewage worker to a sex worker, a war veteran to a prison psychiatrist, you are invited to walk a mile in their shoes.

  • The Power of Stories to Make the Invisible Visible

    Sue James: Lawyer and access to justice champion

    A housing solicitor for 22 years, Sue believes there’s always a story beneath the story of the clients she works with. She runs a busy court housing duty scheme, providing last-minute help to people facing eviction or repossession. One of her client’s stories was incorporated into ‘The Invisible’, a play about legal aid, at the Shepherds Bush Theatre last year.

  • Singing Together Against Isolation

    Micro Rainbow International’s Interfaith Choir: LGBTI Refugee and Asylum Seeker Choir

    Micro Rainbow International is a not for profit NGO with a mission to tackle poverty and the effects of poverty amongst LGBTI communities world-wide. Micro Rainbow International’s Interfaith Choir will be performing at Being the Story. Formed just under two years ago as a creative tool to combat isolation and heal trauma – their priority was to have fun – singing was secondary. But they have gone from strength to strength and are now 30 strong. They have performed at the opening of the new TATE Modern building, the Royal Festival Hall with Guy Garvey and the UK Black Pride.



The Being the Story programme is jam packed, from 9am to 4pm, with 12 fantastic speakers and storytellers.



Welcome speech


Short opening


Lorraine Jones


Sam Smith


Jodie Clark


Coffee break and networking


Sue James


Mandy Thomas


Clare Patey


Lunch (with book signings & 'A Mile in My Shoes' walks)


Post-lunch welcome


Brigitte Aphrodite




Emma Lawton


Coffee break


Hassan Akkad


Giles Duley


Micro Rainbow Choir


Help us take London a little step closer to well-being and happiness!
Help us make a difference by producing an art exhibition with amazing prints and foamex boards at London City Hall about Mental Health and its encounters. 

 Art is a transformative and an emotive exploration into other realms and Into My Escape is a personification of that. The event is a collaboration of four artists who are passionate about bringing light to the need for more understanding and care for those with mental health issues. Each artist has experienced the effects of mental illness directly or through caring for a loved one and wish to create a platform for creative response and well-being. The aim of the show is: 
  • To provide space for discussion and give knowledge about awareness such as safeguarding initiatives on how to spot and support children in need. 
  •  What mental health issues actually consist of and managing those points. 
  •  Promote engagement from a larger audience and create a show which visually informs the effects of depression and the beneficial outcome of exploring artistic practice. 
  • To build a community established on well-being for young minds and develop a positive social understanding attached to the perception of depression. 
  • To give a full perception of living with depression and the joy that can be experienced even in the darkest hours which help the general public with notions of compassion and general understanding. 
The provision of arts help those with a variety of illnesses hold focus of perception and reality, it has been shown to help alter emotional responses. With children as young as five being diagnosed with depression something has to be done!. 
So we are taking the issue to those who can make a change and show the importance of artistic expression as a form of communication, self-awareness, acceptance and release. As well as creating school art programmes encouraging positive states of mind, we will be focusing on better health provision through art programmes for all ages throughout London. 
 Help us take London a little step closer to happiness!

Risks and challenges

Whilst we are experienced in meeting deadlines and producing work on request, there are always unforeseeable obstacles that may appear, Nonetheless the fund will help us to make our goals of finalising our work, preparing enough prints and flyers to promote the exhibition, also our backers are very important to us and we intend to provide art work of a high standard once our funding goal has been reached!
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Wednesday, September 14, 2016



I’m an author, public speaker, founder & director of Breaking the Silence, Recently awarded West Midlands Woman of the Year (2015), Most Inspirational Woman (2015) & Community Champion Asian Business Awards (2016).
I experienced and suffered years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of my family and later by ex-partners. My family that should have loved & protected me the most treated me the worst. From age 7, I was molested, beaten, mentally abused and later almost killed.
I stayed silent for 20 years, my abusers taunting me repeatedly that no one would listen and there would be no escape – but they were wrong – and when I finally found the courage to break the silence, a project was born, Breaking the Silence! (
Sadly I am not alone, statistics show 1 in 3 are experiencing abuse. There are many women who suffer abuse at the hands of partners and even family members...and are imprisoned in fear. 
Breaking the Silence's mission is to establish a refuge for mothers and children as well as single women.

*  Women and their families arrive in refuges all across the country with only the clothes they are wearing.  It's a desperate measure to escape a violent home. No-one leaves everything behind unless they have to.

*  It takes a while to sort out their finances (bank details can be used by ex-partners to track them down) so without access to funds they are entirely reliant on the support of others. 

What We Need & What You Get

We would like to purchase the most ideal and perfect property that we have located as opposed to renting a property so that there is no monthly rental, mortgage or loan to have to pay back. The funds received will go directly to ensuring each woman and child that come through our doors are not concerned or pressured into having to pay rent. Each woman will be free to have all the help and support they need as soon as they walk through our doors. We do not want to be government-funding reliant, but have amazing partners and friends stand with us.
With funding that has been limited for so many out there, we do not want to be put in a situation where we would have to subjected to closing down, as so many other women’s refuges are now facing.
One bedroom in the house will be occupied by an onsite worker. The remaining 16/17 bedrooms will be fitted out comfortably to accommodate mother and children per room on one floor as well as single women on another, enabling us to accommodate each one that needs the help.
The general use of all communal areas will be stylishly fitted out as a retreat such as our lounge, dining room, tranquility & beauty room.  The day care coach house, will include a homework room.
The kitchen will be of a commercial standard and will be the heart of healthy meals and the delivery of cooking lessons to aid life skills.
We will be looking for volunteers to help with the children's daily activities and therapists to help both women and children deal with what they have endured.
CCTV will be fitted throughout the house, coach house, general areas and exterior of the property for added security.
The property has been listed as a 12 bedroom house, however there is room for development which will increase the house to 18 bedrooms which will all have en-suites, including lounges, receptions etc. 

Where the money is going

Our current target is towards purchase and re-development of the house.
Every amount donated will help those in need.
The breakdown below is the total needed to create this safe haven:
·  £500,000 to purchase the property
·  £150,000 to renovate the property, to furnish the house, bedrooms, communal areas and kitchen, purchase toys, clothes, install CCTV security etc
·  £50,000 towards workers salaries including therapists
Total Required £700,000.00

Any additional funds raised will go towards the running of the house along with staff. 
No one should have to live in abuse...but they need somewhere safe to go.
Help them to be part of a change...
Please give generously so we can help them. Thank you.

The Change

The difference it will make to the lives that we will help, cannot almost be put into words...
*  For those who have suffered abuse... They will have a safe, stable home to thrive in and recover from their experiences. They will be helped each step of the way and when they are ready, supported to move into their permanent home.
*  For our "befriender"... They will be able to give back. We will be giving each women a time to heal and then pay it forth to the next survivor who has managed to break free and help them have a better chance of a future.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are able to give, then please do - 
If you are unable to give at this time we would be very grateful if you could send this to anyone you know who may be interested in supporting the project, so that we are able to fund the invaluable work.
Thank you in advance.
Your generosity will not go unseen, we will be forever grateful.



On Sunday evening, in a one hour special episode, millions of listeners discovered that Helen Titchener was found ‘not guilty’ in her trial for stabbing her abusive partner, Rob.
Women’s Aid, along with survivor ambassador Mandy Thomas, worked with the writing team to direct them in their understanding of domestic abuse and the situation many survivors find themselves in. We will continue to do so, as although the verdict was fantastic news, Helen’s story is not over yet. In fact, in many ways Helen and women like her are at their most vulnerable now, which is why continued support is vital.
We’re proud to have had input into this storyline, to help increase conversations about and understanding of domestic abuse but also to show that it isn’t only violence that survivors must endure. Domestic abuse also encompasses emotional abuse, gaslighting and coercive control – behaviour designed to belittle and confuse the victim, which the character of Rob did throughout his relationship with Helen. The storyline also illustrated that there’s not ‘one type’ of survivor – it can happen to anyone, anywhere – something our survivors touch on in our short film about their experiences.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline (run in partnership with Refuge) is open 24/7 on 0808 2000 247

Monday, August 10, 2015


I have been working with Penguin / Random House over the past year on my book
It is about my life from the age of eighteen . Having had a contract for an 80,000 word book and actually having 500,000 words , there is a lot left out !
There are so many things I couldn't put in also , for different reasons.
My main purpose of this book is to highlight the flaws within the system.
Where cut backs cause lives.
Where mistakes cause lives.
 To also show what needs to be done now.
There also needs to be an understanding of this 'disease' called Domestic Violence.
It's widths, depths and breadths that cause untold damage globally.
How it spider webs itself out from the perpetrator through generations now and into the future.
The ripples are deadly poison to the minds of those affected in person and those who see and hear and lay witness to such horrors.
There needs to be an overhaul in the system.
One that dictates to the world that we will NOT accept violence.
A change that represents and respects the deaths of those before us and gives their lives meaning, worthy of their individual existence.
Change that would deter this crime , this misunderstood human crime.
I would like to see perpetrators sentenced with a fitting time served , with no early release.
Let there be a set maximum amount of years for rape, attempted murder, murder, false imprisonment, grevious bodily harm with intent.
These crimes need to hold high sentencing , we need to publicise that continuously to deter crime.
Deterrence is the key, is it not ?

What is a life worth ?

You may well ask, especially if you have lost a loved one to this 'disease'.
I call Domestic Violence a 'disease' because it is growing in numbers globally and there appears to be no cure.

How is the worth of a life even worked out by the justice system ?

How these crimes affect the victims.
It leaves them with a life sentence of physical and mental torture.
For some though, they didn't even get that choice having had their lives,
 their breath stolen by another human beings choice of act.

How do we stop them before they start ?
Educate, raise awareness , set high sentencing , imprison for repentance not for a pleasurable holiday with all mod cons included. The world is guilty of enticing and encouraging crime .The music industry, unsuitable lyrics , raunchy videos, destructive games of death and violence,  I could go on. Prison to some has become a place of bragging and gaining knowledge to further crime. Having so many benefits on the  inside,  when good citizens on the outside struggle with the bare minimum to survive.
What message does this feed to the future generations minds ?
They are brainwashed from an early age by television and the media. If we are not the idols they need to look up to ......How can we expect to change anything ?

We are making headway very slowly with small changes,  but as each day passes another life is marred, scarred or taken .

For some, tomorrow is too late .
For some, tomorrows are not promised.
Let sentence reflect repentence
Let sentence make sense
Let life have some worth.

I have a gripe with the system in particularly where human rights come to be weighed in favour of a perpetrator. How on earth this is ever fair or just is beyond words. I use a phrase that to some would say does not exist , but it's embedded in my brain .It's my way of labelling, to explain a whole sentence in two words.

' Humanic Crime ' 

This is where one human being inflicts pain, injuries, torture to the mind, body and soul of another human being (beings) .

This type of criminal should lose their human rights !

Which would stop them using the system to get what they want by playing the  'human rights card' .

I understand as I have been told on numerous occasions that what I want is not possible.

So I beg a question....why not ?

If we are to stop these people in their tracks 'before' they commit these crimes then we are going to need a strong enforcing deterrent.

If you have the chance to read my book you will get why I feel so strongly about change.
Together globally , with a united strong voice, we can change history.