Alesha Dixon was among the many women who were out in force to celebrate Avon and Women's Aid Empowering Women Awards.
The awards, now in their second year, recognise the bravery and the achievements of women survivors of domestic violence and those who work tirelessly to support those affected by abuse.
The ceremony saw the introduction of a new award, Child Survivor of the Year, which joins the three existing categories: Women Survivor of the Year, Grass Roots Hero and Marie Claire Campaigner Against Domestic Violence.
The winners of the awards were initially nominated by the public before being selected by a judging panel of leading women including Alesha Dixon, Sarah Brown, TV presenter and child survivor of domestic violence Charlie Webster, senior vice president of Avon WEMEA Anna Segatti, Women's Aid chief executive Nicola Harwin, CBE and Marie Claire editor Trish Haplin.
Anna Segatti says: "As Avon celebrates 125 years of empowering women, we're proud to be recognising some of today's most inspirational and brave women in the UK. Through our ongoing work with Women's Aid we are committed to helping end violence against women. These awards play an important part in our continuing mission to break down the silence that surrounds the ugly issue of domestic abuse."
Avon and Women's Aid Empowering Women Award Winners
Child Survivor of the Year
Presented to Alec Hopkins by Nicola Mendelsohn, chair of the Women's Aid Corporate Development Board, and judge Alesha Dixon.
Alec grew up in refuges after fleeing his family home with his mother and sisters, who all suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of his step-father. Channeling his traumatic childhood experience into his passion for drama, Alec has since written and directed a film on domestic violence to highlight the impact it has on young people.
Woman Survivor of the Year
Presented to Sadi Khan by Women’s Aid patron Sarah Brown and Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid.
At just 19 years old, Sadi, a British born Kashmiri, was subject to an arranged marriage. She suffered psychological and physical abuse for five years until she finally found the courage to divorce her husband. Sadi is now a strong, independent, business woman with a daughter aged ten, who nominated her for this award.
Marie Claire Campaigner against Domestic Violence
Presented to Dickie Chester-James by Fionna Mactaggart, MP and editor of Marie Claire magazine Trish Halpin.
A domestic violence survivor and current chief executive of Staffordshire’s Women’s Aid, Dickie has shown unfaltering commitment and relentless campaigning for the cause over the past 20 years. Her dedication has seen her help thousands of women in the Staffordshire area.
Grass Roots Hero
Presented to Val Corbett by Avon’s National Sales Director, Angela Tucker, and actress Fay Ripley.
Inspired by her own experience of domestic violence, Val founded Dacorum Women’s Aid in 1975 - the first refuge for women and children fleeing from abuse and domestic violence. Val has worked tirelessly, completely unpaid, for over 36 years to help break down barriers around domestic abuse in her local community so that fewer women and children suffer.
Nicola Harwin CBE, chief executive of Women's Aid, says: "One in four women suffers from domestic abuse during her lifetime and two women are killed each week by a violent current or former partner. Women's Aid and Avon are proud that for the second year these awards are making sure that the experiences of survivors and those who help them are brought into the spotlight so that those who are suffering in silence right now can find a way out.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies