Our History

We would like to say a huge thank you to the individuals and organisations that have supported us since 1975.

Click on the titles below to read more about our history.

Newcastle Women's Aid was established in 1975 and was one of the first refuges in England.

A group of women who were living and working in the city became concerned at the lack of emergency accommodation for women and their children who were at risk of domestic abuse. As part of the refuge movement in Newcastle, safe spaces for women were quite often the front room of a volunteer’s home. The volunteers embarked on a campaign and lobbied the local authority and a small house was provided which was set up as the city’s first refuge. The refuge was entirely staffed and managed by volunteers.

Since 1975 Newcastle Women’s Aid has gone from strength to strength. The growing public awareness of domestic abuse resulted in increased resources being allocated to service provision.

In 1976 Newcastle Women’s Aid registered as a charity. Due to the increased demand for the service Newcastle Women’s Aid contacted the local authority to discuss the need for a larger building.
In 1979 the local authority provided a larger building with a playroom, offices and a garden, to accommodate six families.

We expanded the service provision in 1992 to include Outreach and aftercare support to women who were experiencing domestic abuse but did not want to come into refuge.

On average the refuge was home to 100 women and 50 children per year and Outreach supported an average of 50 women per year.

In 2010 we introduced the ‘Herstory’ Camera Project into group work which we do with our service users to enable them to think about their emotions and be able to capture them using a camera. Women are often told by abuser’s to ‘keep quiet’, ‘shut up’ and not tell anyone about the abuse therefore, the camera project allows them to show their feelings and demonstrate how the abuse has affected them. Our service users have described the Camera Project as being ‘therapeutic’ and ‘cathartic.’
In 2010 we received a validated 6 A rating in 6 core areas of service delivery from Newcastle City Council, Commissioning Services. We were absolutely thrilled to receive this recognition for all of our hard work. We were all very proud to achieve the highest grading and gave ourselves the nickname of the ‘A-Team.’
Newcastle Women’s Aid became a Ltd Company in 2010 maintaining charitable status.
In 2012 we consulted with our service users to discuss ideas regarding a film which we wanted to make to help raise awareness of domestic abuse. Our service users were heavily involved throughout the whole process and were every bit as proud as we were to see the end result of Newcastle Women’s Aid, ‘Saving Lives.’

The Saving Lives film captures the powerful and emotional stories experienced by women and children affected by domestic abuse. The film also demonstrates the vital and important services provided by Newcastle Women's Aid in partnership with other agencies. You can watch Saving Lives in the News and Resources section of our website.

In 2012 Elaine Langshaw, Service Director at Newcastle Women’s Aid was nominated and shortlisted in the ‘Grass Roots Hero’ category at the 2012 Avon Empowering Women Awards. The event was hosted by Women’s Aid and Avon and was held at Claridges, London.
In 2014 we were awarded Women’s Aid National Quality Standards (NQS) The standards are a quality mark accreditation achieved by services that can evidence best practice and ensures consistent quality of services. Newcastle Women’s Aid were one of the first domestic abuse services to achieve NQS.
In October 2015 we celebrated 40 years of service provision within the city of Newcastle. We shared this huge achievement with all of our stakeholders and supporters at Virgin Money headquarters in Gosforth. The event was successful and allowed us to raise awareness of domestic abuse and its far ranging affects.
In 2016 Newcastle City Council concluded a procurement process and awarded contracts (Refuge and Outreach) for domestic abuse services to a new provider. We were shocked and deeply saddened by the decision to award Refuge and Outreach service contracts to a non-specialist domestic abuse provider. For over 40 years Newcastle Women’s Aid provided refuge for women and children and the city of Newcastle. Over the year’s thousands of women and children used the refuge service to stay safe.

Newcastle Women's Aid Trustees, Directors and staff are committed to continue to provide services to women, children and young people who have been affected by domestic abuse. Since January 2017 we have been busy meeting with women and girls who have previously accessed our services and with staff from local services who provide support to women and girls to find out what they feel the gaps are in service provision. The feedback we received was invaluable in helping us redevelop our new services.

In March 2017 we moved from our much loved refuge which was known as the 'Big House' in the east end of the city. It was a very sad day for us as we remembered the many women and children who had accessed our services over the years.
In April 2017 we moved into our new premises within Mea House in the city centre and launched our new Domestic Abuse Floating Support service (DAFS).