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Panahghar's Story

Our Story

Panahghar have been supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) victims and their families of domestic, sexual and other gendered abuse for over 40 years.

Panahghar is an Urdu word meaning ‘safehouse’

Founded in 1980 in Coventry, the name Panahghar is an Urdu word meaning ‘safehouse’ and was specifically chosen so that Asian women could understand what we stood for; a place of safety and protection.

Panahghar began as a women-led charity to provide safe refuge to Asian women in Coventry. Over the years, as communities grew and diversified, we were able to expand our services to include refuge, support, advice and outreach to our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic victims and their families.

Specialist Black and Minority Ethnic abuse support

As communities changed, Panahghar adapted to meet the needs of our service users and we now provide dedicated BME services across Coventry, Leicester and the West Midlands.

At Panahghar, we strongly believe that it is crucial to provide specialist and expert support, advice and safe refuge to the BME community in the UK.

We are proud that we are a women-led by-and-for specialist BME provider and have developed tailored support and specialist knowledge around victims’ cultural needs, sensitivities and potential barriers to help them in their time of need.

Our services

We currently provide supported refuge in Coventry and Leicester as well as several other services such as a dedicated BME multi-lingual helpline providing support, advice and advocacy and access to safe refuge for female victims. Our refuge service is only for women.

We offer some support for BME male victims through telephone assistance, outreach and IDVA services only.

We also work in partnership alongside Roshni and SWAN to provide a West Midlands forced marriage & ‘honour’ based abuse helpline for those at risk. As well as, a ‘Safe to Talk’ helpline service run in partnership with Coventry Haven for victim and family advice, information and community-based support Our mission including a children and young people’s provision.

Our mission is to provide specialist BME services that are reliable and consistent to service users. We strive to ensure that service users are comfortable and receive tailored support to meet their needs. 

How we achieve this mission:

  • Providing multi-lingual services in as many languages as we can.
  • Employing staff members from a variety of cultural backgrounds to assist in understanding different cultural issues affecting service users.
  • Providing safe refuge to service users and their children.
  • Raising awareness about domestic, sexual and gendered abuse amongst different communities and professionals.
  • Providing Independent Domestic Violence Advocate provision and outreach community services to support survivors in their own environment.
  • Advocacy on no recourse to public funds and immigration issues affecting the BME community.

“I felt safe and I was listened to in my own language. I was given advice and support with things I didn’t understand the staff are a similar culture to me so I felt safe I could talk freely. If I didn’t have a place to go where everyone around other women and staff were from my culture I would not be brave to leave.”

Domestic Abuse Victim

Our future

To this day, Panahghar stand to work tirelessly to relieve poverty, physical and mental distress, domestic violence and abuse of BME survivors.

As an ambitious BME and women-led organisation, we continue to grow and broaden our services so that we can reach and offer as much support as we can to our communities and work towards BME lives free from violence.

Our work would not be possible without the numerous funders and organisations that fund our work and enable us to provide the support to our service users.

We are proud to be a member of Women’s Aid and accredited by Imkaan.

Panahghar’s Impact