Our name, Apna Haq, means ‘Our Right’ in Urdu.
We support Black and minoritised women and girls in Rotherham, South Yorkshire who are experiencing any form of violence, including domestic violence.
Our long-term support helps women heal from the trauma of abuse and make the transition from crisis situations to safe, independent, violence-free lives.
We are also very active in our work against racism and Islamophobia which so often amplifies the violence experienced by Black and minoritised women and girls.
Who we support
Our current work involves many Black and minoritised communities in Rotherham including: Chinese, Thai, Iranian, African, Roma, Bengali, Caribbean, Indian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Muslim revert communities and others.
We support women and girls in all their diversity, including from any religion or no religion, and of any sexuality, including women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI).
How we started
We started in 1994 as a charitable organisation that supported South Asian Muslim women experiencing, or at risk of, domestic violence.
However, in 2010 we expanded our focus to become a Black and minoritised women-led organisation working to end all forms of violence in Rotherham and surrounding areas in South Yorkshire.
This was in response to the changing demographics and needs in Rotherham, along with national policy changes and research findings.
We are a survivor-led organisation with many years of experience in the forms of violence that disproportionately affect Black and minoritised women, as well as an understanding of the cultural issues that these communities face when seeking support, such as language barriers and community pressures.
While we continue to work with women and girls who experience domestic violence, we have become sector-leading experts on experiences that can specifically affect Black and minoritised women, including forced marriage and honour-based violence, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and other forms of sexual abuse.
Our experience means we understand patterns of abuse, justifications within the family for certain behaviours, and why women do not escape.
Our work to support Black and minoritised women in Rotherham is holistic and wide-ranging:
Our primary objective is to ensure the safety of women, managing the risks they may face. This involves general advice, signposting and referrals, as well as planning support more long-term. We also advocate for survivors of CSE and tackle peer-led hate crime.
Empowering women is key to them leaving a violent situation. Our range of confidence building courses aims to improve health and wellbeing. Specifically, we have an economic empowerment programme which entails a Hardship Fund, and a training and development programme which strengthens life skills and employability status.
- Prevention and improved responses
By working in partnership with many agencies, we ensure the community is knowledgeable about how violence against women and girls affects Black and minoritised people. Our training courses raise awareness about the subject.
Giving a voice to survivors of violence is key to changing cultural norms, and so we support other groups to develop their capacity; lobby and campaign on policy issues that affect women; and undertake and participate in research projects.
Ensuring continued service user involvement in Apna Haq is key to our success as an organisation. Our training and development package for current and ex-service users ensures our work continues to be focused and relevant.
Apna Haq adheres to several accredited Standards, which ensures our service is of the highest quality.
- Imkaan Standards
We gained accreditation for the Imkaan national quality standards in 2020. The Imkaan Safe Minimum Practice Standards (SMPS) were developed in 2016. Based on a broad human rights context, the Standards focus on service delivery and practice, and the ethos underlying violence against Black and minoritised women services.
- Women’s Aid National Quality Standards
We became Women’s Aid members in 2017 and are working towards their Women's Aid National Quality Standards. To become accredited, organisations have to demonstrate that they promote positive survivor outcomes including, physical and emotional recovery; rights and access; safety and dignity; and sustainability and autonomy.
- Rape Crisis Standards
The Rape Crisis National Service Standards (RCNSS) ensure that no matter where a woman or girl survivor lives, she will receive a consistent and high-quality response. Although we are not a Rape Crisis Centre, because of the work we do, we are aiming to get accreditation in the future.
Our wider work
Alongside direct service provision, we campaign for ending the acceptance of violence against women and girls. This requires culturally appropriate advocacy work with, for, and by Black and minoritised women experiencing any form of violence. We are active in our community, in local schools, and in the media to mobilise the change of community attitudes.