Women's Aid Federation of England
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Women's Aid is a group of feminist charities across the United Kingdom. There are four main Women's Aid Federations, one for each country. Its aim is to end domestic violence against women and children. The charity works at both local and national levels to ensure women's safety from domestic violence and promotes policies and practices to prevent domestic violence against women from occurring
Women's Aid Federation of England is the sole national coordinating body for the England-wide network of over 370 local domestic violence organisations, providing over 500 refuges, outreach, advocacy and children's support services. Women's Aid campaigns for better legal protection and services and in partnership with its national network, runs public awareness and education campaigns.
Women's Aid provides services through its publications and website, and runs a Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Refuge.
The first branch of Women's Aid was formed in Chiswick, London in Autumn 1971 by Erin Pizzey. It was world's first domestic violence shelter  Originally. the organisation was a social meeting place for women who wanted to make a real difference in their communities at a local level and exchange ideas and wasn't concerned with domestic violence at all. However, the movement became focused on helping domestic violence victims early on, though very much by accident, when a bruised woman pleaded for assistance as no one else would help her.
Original policies and principles 
The key policy for Women's Aid was that "no one should ever be turned away". This was known as the "open door" policy, but due to a lack of resources it therefore proved to be a source of many problems as shelters ended up being very overcrowded.
National federation 
Women's Aid set up as a national United Kingdom federation in 1974 to coordinate almost 40 services that had been established over the country. It was originally known as the National Women's Aid Federation, but later the group fragmented when a separate Scottish federation was launched. This was followed by separate Federations for Northern Ireland and Wales.
As a pioneer in the field Pizzey and Women's Aid obtained many insights into the previously mostly unexplored area of domestic violence. Pizzey highlighted the way in which victims were so badly treated by government, passing from one department to another.
After a year of operation, statistics on women staying at Chiswick Women's Aid helped to illustrate the complexities of the problem of domestic violence.
The charity supported a total of 143,337 women and 114,489 children (with over 40,000 women and children staying in their refuges) in 2001/2. 35,000 other individuals called their 24-hour helpline for information. In its financial year 2004-05, it received £2,052,814 gross income of which it spent £2,254,598. This compares to an income of £560,113 and expenditure of £565,050 in 1997–98. Taxpayers are the biggest source of income for Women's Aid, their accounts state that at least £780,000 in income came directly from this source in 2005.
Women's Aid was set up and is run by women, although it has obtained a dispensation from the Charity Commission not to publish the names of its trustees, (The trustees of Women's Aid are freely available through the Charity Commission's website along with audited reports). Women's Aid states that:
- Domestic violence against women is a violation of women and children's human rights, that it is the result of an abuse of power and control, and that it is rooted in the historical status of women in the family and in society. Women and children have a right to live their lives free from all forms of violence and abuse, and society has a duty to recognise and defend this right.
Women's Aid advocate for abused women and children in three main ways. Firstly, they aim to affect policy decisions and laws by working with local and national government. Secondly, they attempt to raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence by campaigning and running websites such as The Hideout. Thirdly, they provide services to abused women and children, for example UKROL and the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
- Jenni Murray, broadcaster
- Will Young, performer
- Nicola Harwin CBE, Women's Aid Chief Executive
- Gordon Ramsay, three Michelin star chef
- Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister
- Fiona Bruce, BBC newsreader
- Charlie Webster TV Presenter
- Keira Knightley, actress