A New Project aims to Protect Polish Minorities from Domestic Abuse

  • Europia and Vesta have partnered up in a project that offer’s free specialist support to Polish victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
  •  Funded by the Manchester City Council, the project aims to rectify the issues found in other services.

A new project has been established in Manchester to offer specialist support for Polish victims and survivors of domestic abuse. 

Vesta-Specialist Family Support CIC (previously known as the Domestic Violence Helpline) has partnered with the charity Europia to provide free services to Polish minorities in England and Wales affected by domestic abuse, poor mental health and parenting difficulties. With the project entirely funded by the Manchester City Council (MCC), it also aims to tackle the many barriers Polish people face in their daily lives, including the language barrier, lack of knowledge of the system, and the inability to access the necessary services, often leaving them feeling isolated.

With a variety of services including individual domestic abuse support, housing/welfare support, counselling, and emergency funding, Vesta and Europia plan to rectify this issue together, by providing essential aid to the Polish community; a community that constitutes one of the largest minority groups in Manchester. 

Europia is a charity based in Manchester offering practical community and well-being projects, as well as providing free welfare advice, legal surgery, and immigration advice. 

Ewa Wilcock, managing director of Vesta, said: “We are very proud of giving a voice to disadvantaged members of the Polish community. They are very often overlooked by services, not aware of their rights and support options available to them. We use our projects and various communication platforms to raise awareness of the issues faced by our community in Greater Manchester and other areas.” 

Europia and Vesta have also expressed their long-term ambitions to strengthen their presence in the Greater Manchester area and fill the gaps in the existing service providers that have seemed to fail so many polish residents.  

Ewa Wilcock, Managing Director of Vesta. Photo: Ewa’s Facebook.

Vesta has commended the MCC for its support and in recognising the need to reach out to victims survivors from the Polish community, however, they’d also like the council to look closer at the needs of central and Eastern European nationals living in the city and to look at their contribution to the area. 

The MCC could work on celebrating its city’s vibrant Polish culture, and work on bridging the gap between UK nationals and the Polish community; a gap that has seemed to widen in recent years with increasing reports of xenophobia aimed toward Eastern European immigrants since the wake of Brexit. Additionally, Wilcock claims they could address the problems hidden in their other services, “that could be life-threatening  if they are not addressed appropriately and at the right time.” 

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 64,318 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded by Greater Manchester Police in the year to March – up from 50,748 last year. This means there were 22.4 domestic abuse offences per 1,000 people in the area last year.

I asked Wilcock whether she had a recent example of a domestic abuse victim she helped support and how:  “We were contacted by a Polish lady recently who fled from her abusive partner with her young daughter. She was homeless, frightened and didn’t know who she could ask for help. We referred her to her local agencies who are currently assisting her in obtaining safe accommodation. The opportunity to speak to a specialist service in the native language and receive professional advice and guidance can be a life-changing experience for many people from minority groups who experience abuse.”

People who require support can contact Vesta at 07545075093 or via email at [email protected].