Greenwich DVA Service 40 years anniversary: Empowering women and changing lives 1975-2015 

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This year marks 40 years of domestic violence services to the women of Greenwich, highlighting both the historical and future importance of the availability of these services at times of spending cuts to women’s services.

On the 25th November Housing for Women was joined by Sophie Walker, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, at this key event that not only marked the success of the growth of the services in helping women, but also acted as a protest that women still have so much continued need to make use of these services.

As one service user said:

“GDVA is able to change lives for the better. I’m a good example. Because of you I found myself. You showed me how to use my wings, you showed me that I don’t have to be afraid, that I have the right to fight for a better future for my children and for myself!”

This inspirational speech demonstrated that at a time of spending cuts it is essential that domestic violence services are still adequately funded so that they can continue to save lives and empower women. This anniversary event, where members of the police, the council and politicians were present, acted as a way to remind stakeholders that it is not only essential to support victims, but to prevent future abuse incidents.

Judith Banjoko, manager of the Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse Services said

“Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse services have been supporting women for 40 years but this event should not be seen as a celebration. We cannot celebrate that women have needed domestic violence services for the last 40 years, and continue to need access to them. This is an event that marks that domestic violence is a very serious issue that ruins life. Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse Services will continue to support women and families until domestic violence has been eradicated”.

We thank all of those who were present at this event marking the importance of the services that we provide in Greenwich. If anyone requires any further details on these services please contact the Greenwich DVA helpline on 020 8317 8273.


Empowering Women & Changing Lives 1975 – 2015 brochure:


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Greenwich DVA’s mission

“We aim to increase public awareness of domestic abuse so that the norm in our society is to recognise and challenge abusive behaviour. We’ll do this by providing information and support, by training professionals on how to provide and signpost support, and by using our resources to provide emergency accommodation and support for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.”

As an organisation our specialisation is helping women to escape abusive situations and rebuild their lives. Our guidance services are open to you whatever your gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We provide guidance and support to men and young people, but we do not have refuges for them. We will do everything we can to sign signpost or refer people onto this type of service through one of our partner organisations.


Greenwich Women’s Aid was established in 1975 by a group of local, concerned and committed women. The organisation’s success over these years has been a direct result of the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm shown by the Board of Trustees and staff, united in their desire to provide a service to women and children suffering from the effects of domestic abuse and to work towards ending the cycle of abuse.

The organisation merged into Housing for Women — a housing association that’s been dedicated to housing women on low incomes for over 100 years — in 2009, and in 2013 we re-launched as Greenwich DVA Services and expanded our  helpline services to help anyone in an abusive situation, regardless of their gender.

Housing for Women Management

The organisation is managed by a Management Committee and a Chair, all of whom are volunteers and women from professional backgrounds. The Chair is also a practising expert in Supported Housing and Care.

The Management Committee is accountable to the Charities Commission for its governance. They also have the responsibility to set the strategic direction for GDVA as well as setting and approving financial plans.

The day-to-day operational management is carried out by the Manager, Deputy Manager, 1 full time and 1 part time Referral/Information Officers, 9 Support Workers, an Administrator, 2 Children’s Workers and volunteers.

Members of the Management Committee

Barbara Riddell MA OBE (Chair)

Barbara has over 30 years’ experience at senior level in central and local government and two of London’s emergency services — the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade (LFB). She recently retired from being Director of Resources at LFB where she took a particular interest in the recruitment and promotion of women in the service, for which she was awarded an OBE.

Appointed Chair of Housing for Women in August 2011.


Karen Bradshaw MA (Vice Chair)

Over 20 years’ senior management and project management experience in the third and public sector, including specialist services development for minority groups, fundraising, financial management and IT projects.

Appointed to Board  January 2007


Sheila Belgrave BA MBA (Chair of Diversity Working Group)

Sheila has over 30′ years experience in the housing sector as a senior manager, a housing inspector and has served on several housing association boards and sub-committees. She is also vice-chair of the SWAN Group Board . Sheila is currently the Chief Executive of Homes in Havering, an ALMO based in the London Borough of Havering in Essex.

Appointed to Board March 2010


Caroline Donaldson MA ACA MBA (Chair Audit Committee)

Originally trained as a chartered accountant, Caroline has over 25 years’ experience in a wide range of businesses and roles in public, transport and charity sectors. She is currently working as Bid Director for FirstGroup plc.

Appointed to Board May 2009


Diane Herbert BA (Hons)

Director of Human Resources at Channel 4 with over 20 years’ experience in organisation development, leadership, internal talent management and people management within blue chip organisations

Appointed to Board May 2009


Joanne Norris

Senior Business manager and IT programme leader with over 15 years’ experience within the global investment banking industry. Jo is currently CEO for a design and development company specialising in the Financial Services Industry.


Liz Marsh BSc (Hons) MRICS

Surveyor with over 20 years’ commercial experience of many sectors of the real estate industry.

Appointed to Board 22 September 2009


Helen Webb CIPD

Helen has 25 years’ experience in retailing and financial services and has held senior positions in Morrisons, ASDA, Aviva, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s. Currently a member of The Co-operative Retail Executive, Helen is responsible for developing and leading the people strategy for over 70,000 colleagues in stores, logistics and support centres.

Helen has a degree in Politics, is a qualified member of the CIPD and is a visiting fellow of The University of Birmingham Business School.


Safeena Allison FCCA

With a background in forensic and project accounting for large organisations including the Home Office, BBC, Barclays and Oxfam, Safeena is also an experienced interim manager specialising in change management, business transformation and start-up support for charities, not for profit organisations and small businesses. Her diverse cross-sector experience encompasses The Salvation Army, Crime Reduction Initiatives and her own theatrical costume business.

Harriet Hope ACA

Harriet Hope qualified as an accountant with KPMG and has 10 years’ experience working in a diverse range of financial roles. After beginning her career in audit, Harriet built her consulting experience in the KPMG Restructuring team. For the past 4 years she has worked at AstraZeneca, a FTSE20 pharmaceutical company. There Harriet worked closely with investor relations and the commercial business leaders. She is now a full time stay at home mum for her two young children.


Bernadette O’Shea

Bernadette spent 20 years working in Local Government doing a variety of jobs, including community worker, women’s equality adviser, senior advisor on policy and performance and Director of Modernisation and Customer Services.  For the last four years, she has been the Chief Executive of Hounslow Homes, a local authority housing company responsible for the management and maintenance of 16,000 homes.

Appointed to Board 16 March 2010


Important Documents

Housing for Women Annual Review 2011-2012