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29 December 2023

Refuge Chair Hetti Barkworth-Nanton receives CBE in New Years Honours

Refuge is thrilled that the Chair of our Board Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours 2024 list, receiving a CBE for her services to people affected by domestic abuse and domestic homicide.

Hetti joined Refuge as Chair in 2020 and is also co-founder of the Joanna Simpson Foundation. In both roles Hetti has tirelessly campaigned to transform the care, support and protection of women and children affected by domestic abuse and homicide.

Hetti’s passionate campaigning is informed by personal lived experience, constantly striving for better outcomes in memory of her best friend Jo who was killed by her former husband.

Refuge’s vision is that one day services such as ours, focused on supporting survivors of domestic abuse, will no longer be needed, but sadly there is still so much work to be done to challenge perceptions of domestic abuse, to shatter the myths that pervade society and enable perpetrators to continue to abuse women and children.

Until this work is done Refuge will continue to provide lifesaving and life-changing services and campaign for vital legislative change to support survivors of domestic abuse.

Refuge Chair, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, said:

“I was deeply moved and overwhelmed when I found out I was going to receive this honour – it would not be happening, and I would not be doing my work were it not for my beautiful friend Joanna Simpson who lost her life so brutally at the hands of her estranged husband.

Today I work with and alongside many incredible colleagues, who work and volunteer for Refuge, The Joanna Simpson Foundation, and sister organisations throughout the VAWG sector who work tirelessly to support women and children experiencing domestic abuse and whose commitment inspires me every day. Whilst domestic abuse is predominantly perpetrated on women, I also recognise and applaud the work of Respect and others who provide much needed support to men who are experiencing abuse.

This honour is testament to those many individuals who dedicate themselves to this cause, survivors of domestic abuse who bravely tell their story, and the family and friends who support them. And countless others who, through their work in criminal justice, health and social care, law, education and human resources, continue to ask the right questions, and be there for survivors when they so badly need help.

But whilst so much has changed for the better, there is a huge amount of work still to be done.

Change must be everyone’s challenge, because changing societal attitudes takes all of us. It could be affecting your sister, your mother, your daughter, your niece, your friend, your colleague, your neighbour – changing attitudes and creating a generation free from abuse is down to every one of us today.

We have to reach more women sooner so they can get help earlier, we have to raise awareness to help women spot the signs, we must change laws, attitudes, and behaviours in society, and that way we will ultimately save lives. I will not rest until domestic abuse is eliminated.

There are so many people who have been alongside me on this journey over the years, but I must thank today my incredible husband and daughters without whose support I simply couldn’t do what I do, and Diana Parkes, Jo’s mother, for working so bravely together with me for much needed change.”