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Jewish Women’s Aid had its early beginnings in Leeds and London in the 1980s. In each city, a group of Jewish women who were mostly social workers were meeting to find ways of supporting Jewish women facing domestic violence and abuse. In London, the group sought ways of giving face-to-face support, and began to plant the seeds of what would become the JWA refuge. The group in Leeds meanwhile set up a local helpline. The two groups joined together in the early 1990s, and JWA became a national organisation. It was registered as a charity in 1995.

JWA’s refuge and counselling services opened in 1997. Soon afterwards we became a member of Women’s Aid, the national network of organisations that support women affected by domestic and sexual violence. In the early 2000s we launched our community support service and education programmes in schools. In 2011 we began offering training to other professionals and also recruited our first member of paid staff outside London, based in Manchester.