Hampshire domestic violence charity wins top UK health award

Hampshire domestic violence charity wins top UK health award

Portsmouth-based charity Aurora New Dawn has won a major national award for its work supporting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking based in Hampshire and working across England and for the Armed forces throughout the UK and abroad.

Following a rigorous selection and assessment process, Aurora New Dawn (Aurora) was chosen from more than 400 charities across the UK as one of the 10 winners of the 2023 GSK IMPACT Awards which are delivered in partnership with leading health and care charity The King’s Fund. Now in their 26th year, the awards are a mark of excellence in the charity sector, designed to recognise the outstanding work of small and medium sized charities working to improve people’s health and wellbeing in the UK. This year winners will receive £40,000 in unrestricted funding as well as expert support and leadership development provided by The King’s Fund.

Every 30 seconds police across England and Wales receive a domestic abuse related call, yet research shows that less than a quarter of domestic abuse crime is reported to the police. Studies have revealed that one in four women will experience domestic violence and abuse in their lifetime1 and last year Hampshire Police saw a 19% increase in rates of domestic crime and incidents compared to the previous year2.

Founded in 2011, Aurora has developed a range of innovative support services for survivors of domestic violence, including help to find housing, supporting people to obtain restraining orders, and accompanying victims to court. Last year the charity supported over 2,300 people.

The Award judges were particularly impressed by Aurora’s ‘DVA Police Car’ service which involves Aurora staff accompanying Hampshire police on domestic violence and abuse (DVA) call outs. The service started in East Hampshire working alongside officers attending domestic abuse incidents and has now expanded across Hampshire, with advocates from the charity based in Portsmouth, Southampton and Basingstoke. During Covid-19 lockdowns when staff were not allowed to accompany the police, Aurora set up its 24-7 Helpline, which now receives a high volume of calls from victims and professionals needing help, support and information.

The award win comes at a time when many local charities find themselves working in a uniquely challenging environment. The long-term consequences of Covid and the current cost of living crisis are having a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of many local communities, public services are under additional pressure, and charity finances have been hit hard.

Despite this Aurora has continued to innovate and expand its services, working in extremely difficult circumstances to target those most in need. For example, research has found men and women with military experience are over three times more likely to commit violence and abuse towards their partner and almost three times more likely to experience it than civilians3.

Despite Portsmouth being a major Royal Navy base, Aurora found they were not receiving referrals from the naval community. In 2018 they secured funding to raise awareness of DVA and stalking in the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF. Aurora now employs advocates with a background in the Armed Forces to support any serving member of the British Army nationally and overseas affected by domestic violence, including spouses and families.

The Award judges noted the charity’s exemplary partnership-working across local public services, including the police, probation services and GPs, to change how frontline staff work with victims of domestic violence and stalking. Last year the charity launched a unique new stalking advocacy service in the Thames Valley, the first of its kind to operate across three counties. Aurora trains frontline staff to understand the severe impact of stalking and facilitates better support to victims.

The impact of domestic violence and abuse can be long lasting, with rates of depression and suicide much higher amongst survivors. To support people with the long-term effects, Aurora offers a ten-week therapeutic group programme, ‘Athena’ to support survivors to recover from the psychological effects of abuse by increasing self-esteem, improving the understanding of the dynamics of abuse and helping to prevent further abuse. The charity also runs bespoke versions of this for women in prison, sexual violence survivors and for South Asian women, who are the largest ethnic minority community in Hampshire.

Katie Pinnock, Director, UK Charitable Partnerships at GSK, said: “Aurora New Dawn is a creative charity and should be commended for responding to gaps in services, such as poor take up of domestic violence support in the Armed Forces and a lack of awareness and understanding amongst frontline professionals of how to support victims of stalking. Through their impressive partnership work with the local police in Hampshire, their innovative DVA Police Car service enables victims to feel better supported. Demand for their services remains high, and the charity’s influence and reach continues to grow.”

Commenting on the award, Dr Shonagh Dillon CEO of Aurora New Dawn said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received a GSK Impact award. We are aware of the amazing work the charitable sector does across many different areas, so to be chosen as one of the ten winners is a real honour. The funding provided to us through this award enables us to sustain and expand our services to victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and stalking. In addition to the monetary award the benefit of working with the other winners and taking part in the leadership programme through The Kings Fund will provide us with a lasting legacy that is invaluable to organisations like ours. We are incredibly grateful to the judges and extend our thanks to them for the award.”

Developing leaders in the charity sector is a key aim of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme and all winners are invited to build on their success and take part in a tailored leadership development programme run by The King’s Fund.


Notes to editors

Photos, interviews and case studies are available upon request. For further information please contact Gemma Umali, Senior Press and Public Affairs Manager at The King’s Fund on 07584 146035 or g.umali@kingsfund.org.uk

For more information about Aurora New Dawn, visit: www.aurorand.org.uk

1. https://refuge.org.uk/what-is-domestic-abuse/the-facts/

2. Force Performance Profile (hampshire.police.uk)

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9256655/


The GSK IMPACT Awards, run in partnership with The King’s Fund, are designed to recognise the outstanding work of community-based health care charities. For more information visit https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/responsibility/charitable-partnerships/#UKpartnerships

The awards are open to small and medium-sized charities working in health and wellbeing with an annual income between £120,000 and £3 million that are at least three years old. The 2024 GSK IMPACT Awards will open for applications on Monday 3 July 2023. For more information and to apply visit www.kingsfund.org.uk/gskimpactawards.

This year £430,000 in unrestricted prize money will be awarded to UK charities through the GSK IMPACT Awards. Five runners up will receive £4,000 each. Ten winners will each receive £40,000 in unrestricted funding, film assets, a set of promotional photographs of their services, as well as access to training and development activities estimated to be worth £9,500. At the award ceremony at The King’s Fund in London on 18 May, an overall winner will be announced, and they will receive an extra £10,000, making a total of £50,000. The ten winning charities are also invited to join the GSK IMPACT Awards Network, a UK-wide network of over 110 previous award winners who work together to develop leaders, find new ways of working and provide mutual support.

The 2023 winners went through a rigorous assessment, including a half-day in-depth discussion with an independent assessor, and were selected by a judging panel of health and charity experts.

Since its inception in 1997, over 530 health and wellbeing charities have received a GSK IMPACT Award and funding totalling over £8.1 million.

GSK is a global biopharma company with a purpose to unite science, technology, and talent to get ahead of disease together. Find out more at gsk.com/company

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. It helps to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; developing individuals, teams, and organisations; promoting understanding of the health and social care system; and bringing people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Its vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all. For further information visit www.kingsfund.org.uk