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Portsmouth City of Sanctuary has co-founded the first female-only drop-in service ‘HAVEN’ for women living in Portsmouth who have experienced any form of gender violence. Our co-founders are VISTA & SPA 61 (Harbour Church), and the Medaille Trust. HAVEN has worked with over 150 women since it opened in May 2021. We have supported survivors of sexual gender based violence – FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation and women engaged in sex work.

The group consists of various weekly activities that promote independence, increase confidence and empower women to be the best version of themselves. We use a trauma informed approach, and feedback from the women is key in shaping our term time activity schedule.


It is a safe space where women have activities ranging from knitting, sewing, baking, dance and key speakers from across the City. The most popular sessions are arts and crafts which promote good mental health.

To access HAVEN you will need to email us at – [email protected]


There a women suffering gender violence in Portsmouth, facing exploitation but who are ‘unseen’. PCoS worked with a local film company to produce this film to increase awareness of these women.




Portsmouth City of Sanctuary’s HAVEN is a partnership with Vista, Spa 31, and the Medaille Trust.





HAVEN Project leader

Shamila Dhana, Head of Operations & Safeguarding