Ipswich group WASSUP which supports exploited and abused women gets national Red Cross award nomination

A generic domestic violence picture.
Domestic abuse
courtesy Nat

STAR FEATURES KATE GOODING A generic domestic violence picture. Domestic abuse courtesy National Probation Service ES 25.7.11

A group of black and minority ethnic (BME) young women in Ipswich who raise awareness of sexual exploitation and support victims has been shortlisted for a national award.

Women Against Sexual Exploitation and Violence Speak Up (WASSUP) has supported over 70 victims of sexual exploitation, honour-based violence or domestic abuse since it was established by a group of young women with English as a second language in 2012.

Victims have been able to recover from their experiences, rebuild their confidence and now lead safer and happier lives.

The group has been shortlisted for a Red Cross humanitarian award.

It has also won the Anne Dunford OBE award, a specialist award for a group of young people who have taken a leadership role in a decision-making process for the benefit of young people.

Tonia Wilson, project manager for WASSUP, said: “The energy, creativity and commitment of these young women never fails to impress me. They have taken a tough, but hugely important topic and tackled it head on.

“Through their work we can provide young women with a space to talk about their experiences and seek appropriate help.

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“We hope that this peer support work, together with the awareness-raising workshops, will enable more young women affected by these issues to move forward with their lives.”

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive of Volunteering Matters, a national charity which works with the group, said: “The effects of sexual exploitation can be devastating for both individuals and communities as a whole.

“The courageous and brilliant young women who set up WASSUP are shining examples of the type of active citizenship that our society needs.”