International Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating RISE Women

Posted on March, 2023

Jo Gough, RISE CEO Celebrates RISE Women

I have been celebrating International Women’s Day for over 30 years now. I love hearing about inspirational women from our past and present and celebrating the deeds of those that have created opportunities for me, for my daughter, and all those in generations to come. I have no doubt that these women have helped build the foundation that will help end domestic abuse.

I don’t love the corporate band-wagoning and the fleeting, 24-hour commitment to women that ends at 1 minute past twelve on the 9th of March; just in time for flowers for Mother’s Day and easter eggs. Nope, not for me. If that’s the best you can do, don’t bother.

This year I want to focus on some important living women who are quietly getting on with one of the most important jobs there is. I want to tell you about the exceptional women of RISE. This is going to be difficult to do as I can’t share their pictures, or their names as being exposed could put them in danger due to the nature of our work. We are working against the violence and control of a large population of dangerous (mostly) men, and they do not like us doing this work – but still we do – and we won’t be stopping until violence and abuse ends.

So, here’s a few snapshots from RISE daily life with names and some details changed:

IWD 23 negative photo for website

Selena has a calm and strong voice – she helps women find emergency housing when they need to leave and, for some, helps to make their existing homes safer with products like letter box covers and camera-enabled doorbells. She works to keep dangerous men from harming their partners, family members and children.

Bridget has been working at RISE for 17 years. She holds the highest-level safeguarding cases for us – children are safer because she is here. As well as being highly qualified and experienced she has the confidence of key people in the local education psychology team who tell us that, the feedback we have had from schools about her is very positive.”

Dal is working therapeutically with children and their families. She provides specialist counselling and advocates for them with their school. She is also a published author writing for children experiencing abuse. A parent shared this feedback about Dal’s work recently: “My child benefited from it so much … My child trusted the therapist and she was clearly very skilled and also was aware of the impact of domestic abuse on children so it really helped my child focus on this area and the ripple effect It has had on their life and relationships. They made several important changes because of the therapy at RISE. I am very grateful for this invaluable, unique and free service. I could not afford therapy for my children

Evie has been developing online courses for RISE helping hundreds of survivors with their recovery. We know that this work is a lifeline for so many people. Here’s what a survivor said: You may not know but that course gave me courage to stand up for myself and for children. Your charity work is amazing, and I hope someone else will find it helpful as I did.

LGBT survivors come to RISE because they know we are here for them after being the first in the country to set up a service like this. Kayla is working with LGBT survivors find safe homes so they can recover. “It means a lot knowing that at least I seemingly have a team behind me looking out for me. Truly! Thanks so much!!!

Folake is spending her time making the Family and Civil Courts experience easier for those experiencing domestic abuse. She is making sure that Practice Directive 12J is used properly for cases in which it is alleged or admitted that domestic abuse was perpetrated by another party or that there is a risk of such abuse. She has spent many years working with the police and courts to ensure survivors are heard.

Maraid is waiting in Hove Library today expecting to see disabled and older women who want her help to stay safe. Tomorrow she will be teaching community members what they can do to better support survivors of domestic abuse.

After many years of slow and careful support and collaboration with others, Alliha is pleased to see members of the women of colour group trusting her enough to talk about their experiences of abuse.

Belinda is a qualified IDVA like many of RISE staff and she has worked in lots of roles for us over the years. She oversees our Helpline and casework. I can hear her today supporting caseworkers to build strong survivor-led support plans and debriefing a volunteer after a difficult call. Her knowledge and experience are comforting to so many around her – she knows exactly what to say.

Asha has her walking boots on today because she will be working therapeutically with families at Brighton Refuge in the garden. Later she will be meeting young women at The Plot for supportive well-being sessions.

38 women work for RISE. 10 women board members oversee our work and many more volunteer and support us. I want to celebrate every one of these women for what they bring in their everyday work and their volunteering. RISE was made for and by women survivors. We still have a large proportion of survivors in our staff and volunteer pool. Please celebrate with us the passion and the commitment that holds our work together.

We also have the valued support of some men who understand the important contribution they can make knowing that 95% of the perpetrators on our database are male. Some have also experienced abuse. They are raising funds and awareness in our communities to change behaviour and futures for the better. They are standing next to us and bringing their resources to bear for women and children.

For women, children, and LGBT people RISE provides:

  • Helpline
  • Online courses
  • Expert specialist advocacy for housing and for family and civil courts
  • Professional legal and housing support and sanctuary scheme
  • Adult and child counselling and wellbeing programmes
  • Family interventions and therapeutic support for children and young people
  • Drop-ins, recovery groups and psychodynamic programmes
  • Dedicated LGBT+ refuge, counselling and support services
  • Community projects including assertive outreach for women with complex needs
  • Dedicated support for older, disabled and black and minoritised women
  • Survivor and community-led connector, ambassador and research projects

Next year we are running out of funds to deliver some of our important work – Eliza has spent all day finding new foundations and trusts that we can apply to and Mel will be writing a letter to our major donors. Every penny they bring into RISE, through the generosity of those who trust us to spend it wisely, is used to help survivors stay safe and recover.

If you are asking yourself ‘What can I do?’ ‘How can I help?’ ‘Can I do more?’

Volunteer with us >

Donate >

Specialist services like RISE wouldn’t exist without the passion, dedication and expertise of women in our community.

£4000 - the cost of running our frontline services for one day

£50 – the costs of a counselling session for a child who is affected by DVA

£20 – the cost of one call to our volunteer-run helpline

Please join us - it’s not an easy journey, but I promise it will be worth it.

If you need help, or want to talk to somebody about whether you’re experiencing domestic abuse, call our helpline on 01273 622822 or fill out an online self-referral form.

If you are in immediate danger always call 999.


About RISE

Our vision is: ‘Freedom from Abuse and Violence’

RISE stands for Refuge, Information, Support and Education.

RISE is a feminist, women-led and centred domestic violence and abuse charity that has worked for 27 years to end all forms of violence and abuse against women, their families and those identifying as LGBT+.