Survivor to Thriver

Misogyny and violence against women and girls continues to be an epidemic across the country – 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence.

Not only are women and girls facing this abuse, but they are being failed by the systems out there to support that whether that is the criminal justice system, our housing system or being able to access the right mental health or counselling support to recover.

Our frontline teams work tirelessly each day to support and advocate for women to get the help the need and deserve – this event will look at where change in our systems need to be made to ensure that women have safe and independent lives which are free from gender-based violence.

Our Chair:

Nahar Choudhury, Solace CEO

Nahar is Solace’s CEO, bringing over 20 years of experience in supporting people to live safe and independent lives and meet their individual needs. Nahar was previously Chief Executive at Hopscotch Women’s Centre in Camden and her portfolio includes leading teams focused on modern slavery, domestic abuse, housing and mental health. Most recently, Nahar was Interim Director of Housing at Women’s Pioneer Housing and Director of Operations at Hestia. During her career, she has held multiple senior roles, specialising in operational delivery and has worked across the social care and housing sector (Nacro, Southdown Housing Association, Centrepoint, Sussex Oakleaf Housing Association). She has also been a Trustee of Mitali Housing Association which then merged with Tower Hamlets Community Housing and Chair of MOSAIC Black and Mixed-Parentage Family Group based in Brighton.

Our Panellists:

Keynote Speakers:

Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales

In her role as Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove is responsible for championing the interests of victims and witnesses of crime, reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice (the Victims’ Code), and advising and holding government and other criminal justice agencies to account. She will undertake reviews into victims’ services and report on how agencies are complying with the Code of Practice for Victims. Baroness Newlove brings a wealth of experience, having previously served as the Victims’ Commissioner for six years. During her time in office, she laid the groundwork to enshrine victims’ rights in law and led important reviews on anti-social behaviourthe Victim’s Code, and reforms to the Parole system. She also campaigned to improve victims’ experiences in court and give them a voice throughout the criminal justice process.

Baroness Newlove draws on her extensive personal experience of the criminal justice system. She became a prominent community campaigner and activist after the tragic murder of her husband, Garry, by a gang of youths outside their family home in 2007. This was the culmination of a long-running campaign of youth violence in their community. She is a renowned keynote and after dinner speaker, having addressed the United Nations, Government committees and spoken regularly in the House of Lords. She also serves in a voluntary capacity as Pro Vice Chancellor of Bolton University and has also authored a memoir about the murder of her husband and her journey to become a passionate campaigner for victims’ rights.

*Baroness Newlove was replaced at the last minute by Rebecca Shortt – VAWG Police Manager at the office of Victims’ Commissioner.

Claire Waxman, Victims’ Commissioner for London

Claire Waxman

Claire Waxman was appointed in 2017 by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to be London’s first Independent Victims’ Commissioner, and was subsequently reappointed in May 2021. Claire brings a wealth of personal insight and expertise to the role – having been the victim of a sustained stalking campaign, she founded a group which successfully fought for improved legislation and support for victims and survivors. In her role as Independent Victims’ Commissioner for London, Claire has undertaken an ambitious programme of work. This includes convening three Victims Summits; publishing two Rape Reviews and a Review into the Victims Code of Practice; holding a series of roundtables to better understand the experiences of specific groups of victims; and lobbying for key legislative change through the Domestic Abuse Bill, Policing Bill, and the current Victims and Prisoners Bill.

Karen Whybro, Women’s Safety Consultant

Karen is a women’s safety consultant, offering a range of services to clients in a number of industries, including local authorities, police services and private businesses and organisations to create safe spaces for women in the public, at work and online. In 2023, she began her PhD in The Role of the Night-Time Economy in reducing violence against women and girls at the University of Portsmouth. Researching under the marketing and business school, her area of focus is around how we can effect cultural and social change through social marketing. Karen has a specific interest in researching reactance of the public online, how we disrupt the rise of the “manosphere” and manage the challenge of online extremist misogyny.

Sarah Michael, Solace Survivor Ambassador

Sarah has accessed Solace’s services 20 years ago and is now an Ambassador, giving voice to survivors. She is a mother of four and survivor of childhood abuse, domestic violence and sexual violence. Sarah has been an ambassador for 6 years, has sat on a number of panels for Solace and has spoken out against domestic violence for the last 10 years. She is also part of a group helping young people affected by youth violence.

Kossar Butt, Head of Accommodation Services at Solace

Kossar leads the Accommodation Services at Solace in 7 Pan London boroughs. She has been working at Solace since 2015 and previously held roles managing Solace refuges in Islington and Lambeth, including the Amari Project. Kossar has over 20 years of experience in the Social Care Sector and started her career working as a frontline Support Worker for a charity in the Midlands supporting homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children. Kossar loves working for Solace and what it represents, as a dynamic and unique charitable organisation offering a range of services to support survivors of Domestic Abuse.

Our free webinar was help on December 6th.