In the community
We believe in the power of community awareness raising to change attitudes on violence towards women and girls in the black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. Part of this includes educating people on the effects of violence both on women themselves, and on the local Rotherham - South Yorkshire community.
We undertake a number of projects and partnerships that aim to turn negative attitudes against women into positive ones. We do this by communicating with women in the community to discuss issues of violence, working with men who come forward to seek support on a woman’s behalf, creating relationships within the community to discourage violence and abuse, and encouraging debate and education.
If you are interested in partnering with Apna Haq to deliver community awareness raising sessions or would like us to provide educational sessions specific for your community, please contact us.
Below are some examples of Apna Haq’s engagement in the Rotherham community.
Due to changing dynamics in Rotherham and the impact on the BME communities, Apna Haq has found itself to become a leading voice in challenging racism, whether that is faced by women themselves or the local communities, at a local, regional, national and European level.
From 2014 onwards, it became apparent that there was a huge bias regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham, that the only context was ‘Asian men targeting white girls’. We know this is not true as we have been supporting service users who have experienced CSE by men of other nationalities too. We have defended Asian, Muslim and Pakistani men who are too often labelled child sexual exploiters because of their ethnicity. As a result, Apna Haq has been able to establish itself within the male Pakistani and other BME communities as a defender against racism, which has created a lot more support for the work that Apna Haq undertake among men and male-led organisations.
Rotherham 12 Defence Campaign
The Rotherham 12 Defence Campaign came to light when 12 Pakistani men from Rotherham were accused of violent disorder against a group of extreme right men. On hearing the reason for their arrests and the charges put against them, i.e. riot and disorder, our CEO Zlakha Ahmed, became involved with the Rotherham 12 campaign group to help harness the voices of the wives and families of the Rotherham 12. At trial, the case was won by the Rotherham 12, proving that the charges should never have been given out in the first place.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness-raising sessions
As a sector-leading expert in issues around CSE, we’ve held many awareness-raising sessions over the years to educate people in the local Rotherham community. We have great connections with many minority ethnic organisations in the local area, some examples of which include:
- International Christian Centre - attended by Yemeni & Pakistani community women.
- Wah Hong - we held an awareness-raising session for the Chinese/ Malaysian Group at Magna. The Director of Wah Hong is on our Board of Trustees.
- The Unity Centre - we held a Pakistani men’s child sexual exploitation awareness-raising session, and another session for Yemeni & Pakistani women in partnership with Islam Rotherham.
- Mama Africa – in partnership, we held an awareness-raising session for African women at Rotherham Rise. The Director of Mama Africa is the Chair of our Board of Trustees.
- Role-play sessions - as part of raising awareness of child sexual exploitation Apna Haq held 10 drama sessions involving eight participants. The group performed examples of how child sexual exploitation may arise and explored three specific scenarios: 1) Granddaughter abused by granddad and then boyfriend. 2) Online grooming. 3) Exploitation at mosque.
Crown Prosecution Service: Domestic Violence Scrutiny Panel
The Crown Prosecution Service in Yorkshire and Humberside includes a Domestic Abuse Scrutiny Panel. We attended a panel meeting in late 2016 to discuss coercive and controlling behaviour, along with members of the Rape Scrutiny Panel. Having taken part in a training session on new legislation, Apna Haq ensures it both provides expertise to our legal frameworks and learns from them.
Shariah councils inquiry: evidence giving to MPs
The Home Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into Sharia councils operating in the UK in late 2016. Our Chief Executive, Zlakha Ahmed, was invited to the evidence session to discuss our experience working with Sharia councils. The majority of our evidence was related to our work supporting women through Islamic divorce. Read the final government report.
Spiritual Healing/Spiritual Abuse work
Since our inception, we have supported numerous service users who have shared either the benefits of spiritual healing or how it has led to abuse, either financial, emotional, physical or sexual. As an issue it is hidden from the outside world apart from a few in the mental health and spiritual healing fields. Apna Haq has been engaging with this issue and trying to bring it to the attention of policy makers and service delivery agents.
Clifton Learning Partnership: drop-in sessions
The Clifton Learning Partnership exists in Rotherham to "Give every child and family the best chance to succeed". Our advocacy worker supports the partnership weekly, by attending drop-in sessions to assist and provide advice to women from the EU and the Roma community in particular.
Partnership with Rotherham United
We partner with Rotherham United (The Millers) on their Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST). In 2016, the RUCST was awarded funding to increase black and minority ethnic (BME) women’s participation in sport.
Apna Haq’s advocacy worker encourages service users and ex-service users to take part in the scheme, acknowledging the benefits women enjoy such as meeting other people and better health and wellbeing. So far, women from Apna Haq have enjoyed badminton, netball, cycling and football.