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About Black Country Women’s Aid

Black Country Women’s Aid (formerly known as Sandwell Women’s Aid) is an independent charity which has supported survivors of abuse and exploitation in the West Midlands for 30 years.

Our sensitive and holistic support helps over 8000 victims of abuse each year to escape from violence, cope with trauma and rebuild their lives. We believe that no-one should have to live in fear of violence and abuse. We listen, we support, we care.

BCWA won Investors in People’s One to Watch Award and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year in 2015. BCWA was nominated for a Human Trafficking Foundation Award in 2017 for our outstanding contribution to the fight against modern slavery.

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What we do

Our diverse range of services include: domestic abuse refuge and community support; rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support; forced marriage and honour based violence support; children and young people’s services; therapeutic services; and support for female offenders and women with complex needs.

Please click below to find out more.

View our support services

BCWA Locations

BCWA offers a range of services for survivors of abuse in the West Midlands. These are based in our four welcoming Cedar Centres across the region. Please click the links below to find out about services in your area.

Latest Projects

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Our team

BCWA’s services are headed up by a management team with a diverse range of skills and experience, working together to ensure that victims of abuse get the best support.

Kathleen Collier

Head of Women’s Justice Services

Kathleen joined BCWA in 2014 and has developed our Women’s Justice Services from their origins as a programme for women on Probation in Sandwell, to the array of services we offer today, working with partners such as the OPCC, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, and Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company.

Kathleen qualified as a social worker, and has previously worked in domestic violence services in refuge, outreach, as an IDVA, and in drug and drug and alcohol services for women in custody.

Jennifer Lumsden-Gordon

Head of Therapeutic Services

BCWA’s Aid services offering counselling, art therapy and other therapeutic solutions to all victims.

Jennifer is also an in-demand trainer across the West Midlands for her in-depth of knowledge of sexual violence, modern slavery, trauma, and the criminal justice system.

Wendy Sims

Regional Head of Policy and Performance

Wendy oversees BCWA’s policy and performance, ensuring the high quality of all support services, embedding safeguarding and undertaking research and analysis. Wendy manages all of BCWA’s partnerships with universities and training providers, leading on internships and Social Work training schemes. She also leads on BCWA’s OCN training facility and creates and delivers bespoke training for local Safeguarding Boards and other partners.

Wendy also heads BCWA’s Children’s Team, working partners and funders such as the Home Office, Comic Relief, and Children in Need to give our work a local, regional and national platform.

Raj Lagan

Head of Domestic Abuse Services

Raj heads up our Domestic Abuse Services across the region, managing a team of 32 staff and embedding BCWA within strategic approaches to combat domestic abuse and support victims. Raj chairs Sandwell ODOC (one day one conversation), Dudley Domestic Abuse Forum and assists in chairing MARACs in Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall.

Raj initially joined BCWA as an IDVA and in her time with us has pioneered several new areas of service. She was the first Court IDVA in Sandwell, successfully developing effective partnerships within the courts. She then became the first IDVA in Sandwell’s new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), one of the few voluntary sector professionals to become an integral part of a MASH anywhere in the country.

Raj’s breadth of experience makes her an in-demand trainer and she delivers several of our courses for professionals across the region.

Nikki Penniston

Head of Special Projects

Nikki is Head of Special Projects at BCWA, leading on new development projects and partnerships. She has a degree in Criminology and Psychology and joined BCWA in 2012 having worked for a number of years in operational management within drug treatment services.

Her experience includes developing effective recovery-focussed care pathways, co-ordinating drop-in services and psychosocial interventions, and developing specialist young people’s and women’s projects in sexual violence, exploitation and domestic abuse. She is an individual member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol professionals. Nikki is PTTLS trained and is an experienced trainer, delivering a number of BCWA’s courses for professionals across the West Midlands.

Baldish Sohal

Head of Modern Slavery Support Services

Baldish manages BCWA’s Modern Slavery Support Services which operate across the West Midlands. She works with strategic partners including the Human Trafficking Foundation and the West Midlands Anti Trafficking Network, to integrate and improve services for survivors. Baldish also sits on the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victims Commission representing the issue of Modern Slavery.

Baldish is a registered Social Worker and has been with BCWA since 2010, Before becoming Head of Service she worked across our refuge and outreach service specialising in BAMER support, immigration advocacy and human trafficking.

Baldish is trained to PTTLS (Certificate in Education and Training) Level 4, and mentors Social Work students at BCWA.

Annual Reports

Our annual reports are our chance to look back and review our year – celebrating stories of survival from people we have supported and our achievements working with partners and funders.

View reports