Sistah Space: Black women’s domestic abuse charity need to raise £100,000 for refuge

“The space will be accessible 24hrs a day in case of emergencies and will be (wo-)manned full time.”

Black women’s domestic violence charity Sistah Space are fundraising £100,000 to create a “beautiful” specialist refuge for victims and children of African and Caribbeanheritage.

The Hackney-based charity is looking to buy a property to act as a temporary shelter for abuse victims - and has even settled on a location.

The group has raised £12,000 so far, but are trying to raise £100,000 so they can buy a safe house to serve as a temporary space for black women affected by domestic abuse.

Now organisers need another £90,000 to reach their goal of a refuge with 24-hour access.

Black women’s domestic violence charity Sistah Space are fundraising for £100,000. Photo: Sistah Space/JustGiving

Sistah Space, from Dalston, east London, says abuse victims specifically of African and Caribbean heritage will be offered a place to stay along with their children for up to 10 days.

The charity, backed by musician FKA Twigs, is seeking specialist training for emergency services to help minority victims of domestic abuse, as part of the Valerie’s Law campaign.

Named after Valerie Forde, a black woman who was murdered along with her one-year-old daughter by her ex-partner in 2014, the proposed law seeks to mandate cultural competency training for police officers, among others.

Perpetrator Roland McKoy had previously threatened to burn Forde’s house down, a threat that was reported to the police but one which was seen as a threat to property.

Djanomi Headley, from Sistah Space. Photo: Sistah Space

He is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence.

The proposal was debated in parliament earlier this year after a petition on the law received more than 100,000 signatures but concrete action has yet to be taken by the government.

Sistah Space has previously said: “Current training on domestic abuse should include recognising the specific needs of victims due to their ethnicity or cultural background.

“Government does not feel it is necessary to mandate it.”

Valerie's Law was named after Valerie Forde, whose ex-partner murdered her and her one-year-old baby in 2014.

In a statement on the charity’s JustGiving page, a spokesperson said: “We found our safe space.

“We are just £100,000 short of the asking price for this beautiful safe house complete with many rooms and facilities, and a lovely garden.

“It seems a lot, doesn’t it? But we have already raised several times that amount and this is the final stretch to finally achieve what has been six years in the planning.

“The idea behind our specialist refuge is that victims of domestic abuse, including women with children, can be accommodated safely for anything between one night and ten days, while an alternative adequate safe space or a mainstream refuge is located.”

They added: “The space will be accessible 24hrs a day in case of emergencies and will be (wo-)manned full time.”

And the charity says that due to issues around the adultification of black children, they will use discretion to accept children up to 16 years of age until other arrangements are made.