Activism

Hey Girls donates cash to women's shelters in domestic abuse crisis

The period poverty-busting social enterprise is responding to a reported increase in domestic violence reports while campaigners work to avoid a surge in homeless survivors

hey girls

Hey Girls, the period poverty-busting, dignity-boosting social enterprise and friend of The Big Issue, is doing its bit to support women during the pandemic by redirecting some proceeds to help domestic abuse survivors.

Experts warned that the stay-at-home measures brought in to slow the spread of Covid-19 were likely to cause a spike in domestic violence reports – and the National Domestic Abuse helpline subsequently saw calls nearly double in just three weeks.

This pushed Musselburgh-based Hey Girls founder Celia Hodson and her team to do more while supporting the government’s #YouAreNotAlone campaign, highlighting the help available for survivors.

For every pair of the company’s red bikini period pants sold, £5 will go straight to women’s crisis shelters to help them support women forced out of their homes.

The Hey Girls classic red shorties and bikini period pants cost £14.95 and can be used “month after month”.

Hodson said: “Domestic violence has no place in our society in 2020. Hey Girls is showing our solidarity with and for people who find themselves in these horrific situations by raising awareness of the government’s #YouAreNotAlone campaign within our community.

“To take it a step further, we know that women’s shelters need monetary donations now more than ever, so we will be donating £5 from orders of our new period pants to do exactly that.”

Hey Girls sells high-quality and sustainable period products using a buy-one-give-one model to donate products to charities and communities in need. They teamed up with The Big Issue earlier this year to create the UK’s first mainstream period-themed magazine. They already carry the National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on the inside of their product packing and regularly donate products to women’s shelters.

“Coronavirus has had an effect on everyone, but I know that it has been especially frightening for victims of domestic abuse who have found themselves trapped in their homes with their perpetrators.

“I’d like to thank Hey Girls for supporting the government’s #YouAreNotAlone campaign and raising awareness of this terrible crime. It is more important than ever to remind victims that help is available.”

Earlier this month calls were made to create more homes for the predicted surge of people escaping abusive situations – which, the UK government clarified, counts as essential travel.

While governments promised extra funding to support domestic abuse survivors, 48-year-old Rachel Williams said more must be done.

“We’re not going to have enough refuge spaces,” the Stand Up to Domestic Abuse founder and abuse survivor said. “It’s no good when the horse has bolted. We need to get a good plan in place now.”

Responding to the uptick in demand during the health crisis, London charity Solace Women’s Aid secured as many as 70 units for women and their children to take refuge which, unlikely some shelters, will be available to women with no recourse to public funds too.

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