A patchwork quilt commemorating the lives of women killed by their partners or ex-partners between 2009 and 2015 is going on display in Sheffield next week.
The quilt will be on display in the Winter Garden on Wednesday, December 6 from 10am – 6pm.
Each patch includes the name of one of the 598 women killed in England and Wales over the six year period.
The Woman’s Quilt was started by Roxanne Ellis, a Labour/Co-op councillor, after she read the Femicide Census, which records the names of all the women killed by their partners or ex-partners between 2009 and 2015.
The patches were sown by people from all over the world, who heard about the quilt project on Facebook. It was first unveiled outside the Houses of Parliament on International Women’s Day on March 8 this year.
Representatives from Sheffield City Council, other public services and domestic abuse services will also be in the Winter Garden giving information about the support available for people in Sheffield who are affected by abuse.
Councillor Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council, said: “No-one should have to endure domestic abuse. Sadly it affects many people and we don’t want them to suffer alone. There is support for people suffering from domestic abuse in Sheffield – both men and women – and I urge people to get help.
“We have a free-phone confidential help line where people can get advice and support. We also offer one-to-one support, help for people who do not speak English as a first language, there are support groups and the city has women’s refuges where women can escape to, if that is what they need.
“Every death highlighted by The Women’s Quilt is a tragedy which should not have happened. I hope this is highlighted when it comes to Sheffield, and helps raise awareness of the help available for people in our city. Please don’t suffer in silence.”
Sheffield has the lowest rate of domestic homicides in the biggest cities outside of London (in England and Wales). There were eight domestic homicides in Sheffield between April 2011 and March 2017, and all the victims were women. Of these, six were killed by their partner or ex-partner.
South Yorkshire Police will also be at the Winter Garden to give information about the help for people experiencing domestic abuse. Detective Chief Inspector Melanie Palin said: “South Yorkshire Police take reports of domestic abuse seriously. We are committed to protecting victims and bringing offenders to justice. The Women’s Quilt highlights how important it is for people to seek help whether they are victims themselves or know someone who is.
“Details of how to contact the police or seek support can be found on the South Yorkshire Police Website or to report ring 101 or in an emergency 999.”
Sheffield’s domestic abuse helpline is run by Action Domestic Abuse Services and funded by Sheffield City Council. Its hours were extended last January to 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on weekends. It is also open on week days over the Christmas period from 8am to 6pm, except on Bank Holidays.
Call 0808 808 2241 (free phone) for confidential advice.
The help line is staffed by specialist workers who listen and offer advice and information about the services and choices available to people. They also have access to interpreters for people who do not have English as a first language and provide advice to agencies who are aware that someone they’re working with is experiencing domestic abuse.
There will be an opportunity to make donations to Sheffield Area Refuge and Support when visiting The Women’s Quilt in the Winter Gardens – SARAS are a local women’s charity providing refuges for women escaping domestic abuse in the city.
A second fundraiser is being held for charity VIDA after the Winter Garden event.
From 6pm there will be a buffet at Browns in the Peace Gardens where people will be able to see The Women’s Quilt up close and hear from the woman behind the idea. The charity is asking for a £10 minimum donation and all funds additional to the cost of the buffet will be donated to support the work being done to support victims of abuse.