Helping Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid create a safe online space


While the holiday period should be a time to celebrate and spread festive cheer, it can be a far stretch from reality with police call-outs for incidents of domestic abuse increasing towards the end of the year.

Sadly, such offences are a prevalent issue in the UK as highlighted by figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales published in November 2022, which revealed an estimated 6.9 per cent of women (1.7 million) experienced domestic abuse in the last year.

As domestic abuse is often a hidden crime that is not reported to the police, these statistics are just a partial picture but highlight the support needed to help those facing domestic abuse.

Charities such as Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA) work with women and children affected by domestic abuse by offering safe, temporary accommodation and  accessible support services. For over 40 years, the charity has provided frontline services and works hard to raise awareness and promote action against domestic violence. 

Barques is proud to have supported BSWA for over five years to ensure the charity can continue to provide safe online support to those who need it.

How Barques has supported BSWA

Barques was initially approached by BSWA to refresh its branding and website to modernise its presence while also providing a safe online space for its audience. 

Domestic abuse can be a difficult topic to navigate so it was vital for us to prioritise approachability, reliability and practicality when redesigning the website to ensure users can easily obtain the information or comfort they need from a trustworthy source.

An example of this is the accessibility bar positioned at the top of the site, where users can tailor the website’s language, text size, text audio, background colour and more to suit their specifications. An exit button was also included in the main navigation to enable users to leave the site quickly if they are in danger.

Undoubtedly, it is a difficult time for those who are using the site in private, which is why choosing the right look and feel was crucial to creating a stress-free virtual environment. 

A gentle colour palette of soft purple, green and white tones was curated for this purpose, paying homage to the suffragette flag and acknowledging the self-empowerment of users seeking out information and support. 

Illustrating the different women who use the site was equally important to reinforce the site as a space of inclusivity. This was accomplished by our design team through silhouette graphics which showcase a diverse range of people and reiterate the confidentiality of using the BSWA’s services with the absence of real photographs. 

Our reimagining of the BSWA logo to a water lily was deeply considered too - its symbolism of rebirth, wellness and peace relay the exact qualities the charity aims to provide its users with. 

Snowball season 

With the demand for refuge places at an all-time high and calls to their helpline and other services increasing, it’s essential BSWA are able to continue providing their services for as long as they are required. 

Donations and events are just two examples of how individuals can support BSWA and are the activities that local charity, Property for Kids (PFK) has used to continue championing the domestic abuse organisation over the years.

Formed by individuals across the property and construction sector, including Barques’ managing director, Jilly Cosgrove, who wanted to make a positive impact in the local area, PFK supports a variety of charities across the West Midlands. 

The organisation’s annual fundraising events have become memorable dates in the calendar with the winter Snowball being a notable favourite. 

Held every December at the Jam House, the Snowball requires guests to donate a gift suitable for a child or young person, all of which are collected and distributed by BSWA through their regional drop-in centres and refuge accommodation.

The Snowball is an occasion Jilly holds close to her heart and one she has helped arrange for over a decade. This year, Barques was proud to join Jilly and hundreds of businesses to collect over 1,500 gifts for BSWA.

The importance of any donations and support for this charity cannot be overstated, particularly in the current cost of living crisis; over 50 domestic abuse services in the West Midlands are in dire need of financial aid. 

There is a long way to go to help eradicate domestic violence and abuse but Barques will continue to help BSWA in every way we can. 

To find out how you can get involved or support BSWA, take a look at their website

Tailor your brand to suit your audience

Barques is a creative communications agency which pays attention to the people who matter most to you. 

If you would like to customise your website for the benefit of your users or reimagine your brand, our specialists are here to help. 

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