Testimonials from professionals and clients that have worked with Sharon.
Sharon Bryan is a survivor of domestic abuse who has used her experiences to change other women’s lives for the better. Sharon became a trustee for Women’s Aid, and went on to become Vice Chair of the charity. Over the years Sharon has continued to support Women’s Aid work through media interviews and being part of our ‘SOS’ campaign film to help save refuges. In 2012 Sharon received our ‘Survivor of the Year’ Empowering Women Award, which Women’s Aid ran in partnership with Avon and Marie Claire magazine. Sharon is an inspirational woman who has dedicated her life to helping others affected by violence in the home.
I met Sharon at the Empowering Women Awards back in 2012 and she left a lasting impression on me. Brave, strong and honest she spoke from the heart and inspired not only me but everyone in that room. I’m delighted to hear that she is fulfilling her dreams and I continue to admire her and women like her. I can only strive to be half the woman she is.
Fay Ripley – Actress.
I have known Sharon in a professional context since 2009 when she headed up Westminster’s IDVA service, delivered by Woman’s Trust. At the time I was responsible for commissioning our women’s refuges and attending MARAC as the Housing rep. Since then, both of us have changed roles but happily we have continued to cross paths.
Sharon is special. She is able to build rapport and trust with women and children who have lost everything, never judging, always empathising, always understanding. She works tirelessly in the interests of her clients, often in the face of frustrations and structural barriers which make this work harder than it should be. She is able to represent her clients’ perspectives clearly in a way that other services can understand, challenging preconceptions, busting myths and always returning to the fact that violence against a woman is never her fault. And all this with endless good humour and positivity.
As well as her supreme advocacy skills, Sharon is a brilliant manager, trainer, colleague. She finds solutions and is hard-working and supportive to everyone around her. As well as having great technical knowledge around the VAWG agenda, Sharon really understands the complex landscape of public service delivery, making her an asset to any team trying to deliver excellent services in a financially challenging, high volume environment.
I would not hesitate to work with Sharon on any project and heartily recommend her services.
Helena Stephenson – Senior Service Transformation Manager, Westminster City Council
Sharon has worked tirelessly and fearlessly raising awareness around domestic violence issues locally and nationally speaking about the issue and training a huge variety of professionals.
Importantly, Sharon is completely dedicated working day to day to support survivors and their families giving them hope, dignity, encouragement and practical support.
Sharon seeks no credit or glory and yet is a true champion around this issue.
Mary Russell – Chair of The Westminster Domestic Violence Forum.
A Huge Thank You to our wonderful Freedom Programme Facilitator Sharon Bryan. Sharon works tirelessly and passionately to combat violence and abuse against women and children.
She has brought the Freedom Programme to the women of Westminster and is helping us to reach more women every day. She is warm loving and never judges. She is great fun and delivers the programme with wit and humour.
In short she is a perfect Freedom Programme Facilitator.
Pat Craven – Creator of the Freedom Programme and author of Living with the Dominator.
I met Sharon Bryan when we were both trustees for The Women’s Aid Federation of England. She has always been committed and passionate about the cause and works incredibly hard to change attitudes towards domestic abuse and safeguard children.
Lesley Gibson – Chief Executive Officer of Harbour Support Services, Hartlepool.
I was fortunate to be supported by Sharon in 2000 when I was referred to a refuge as a 17 year old with a one month old son. Sharon supported me throughout the prosecution of the perpetrator of domestic violence against me. She was empathetic, supportive, understanding and is the reason why I did not go back to the relationship despite my high level of vulnerability. Sharon understands how to challenge domestic violence at both a grassroots and policy level and is as professional as she is caring. I left her support empowered, inspired and feeling like I could always go back to her. For support, advice or simply loving care. Her intervention changed the direction of my life forever. For that. I will be eternally grateful. I am happy to see that Sharon’s immense contribution to the field of domestic violence is starting to be recognised and will participate in any opportunity I have to celebrate her and her work. She deserves recognition for the lives she has saved. She is a rock of hope and strength for so many people. Determined and so very professional. Thank you for everything Sharon. I hope you realise how valued you are!!
Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
Sharon has an unshakeable resolve and dogged determination to do the best for the women and children that she works so tirelessly for. You could never ask for anyone better to fight your corner! As well as campaigning for the justice that her clients deserve Sharon is a source of unending support; guiding women through the most painful experiences they will ever face and enabling them to recover and grow in confidence as they rebuild their shattered lives. Everything Sharon does she does from the heart and that will never change.
Sharon is also an accomplished and respected trainer around violence against women and girls issues and she is a powerful and emotive speaker who has delivered her message to a wide range of audiences. Her aim has always been to encourage policy makers to think about the devastating effect and consequences of these behaviours, and their prevalence in our society, and how best statutory and voluntary support services can be structured to combat this.
Tracy Gain – Housing Needs Manager, Westminster City Council.
In 2001 I left London with my two young daughters, fled from my partner of 15 years. I reached the refuge and was shown to our room. Sharon introduced herself as a support worker and I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe I had finally found the courage and left him. Sharon was then the person I turned to, a shoulder to cry on, someone to support me when my girls were playing up, she gave me encouragement constantly. We were there ten months and I can honestly say without her support and comfort I would have never been able to build myself back to the strong person I am today. I remarried a wonderful kind man and as well as our girls, we also have a son. Sharon helped me turn my life round. I will always be eternally grateful to Sharon .
Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
Sharon Bryan is a committed, inspiring DV professional. In my 7 years working with her I saw her support and help women to make changes in their lives that made women and their children safer. She is skilled in delivering one to one support and advocacy as well as leading Freedom Programme groups. She is knowledgeable about the legal framework as well as methods of support that work.
Natasha Bishopp – Head of Early Help for Families, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Working alongside Sharon I have witnessed first-hand the highest standards of professionalism combined with genuine empathy with her service users which she regularly employs to achieve outcomes previously thought unachievable.
Kevin Humphreys – Housing Advisor, Westminster City Council.
Without the support and constant reassurance of Sharon, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to her. She is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, having her on my side when dealing with someone as persistent as my ex partner has been crucial and possibly life saving.
Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
I was fortunate to have had Sharon as my support worker after 17 years of domestic violence and 4 children that had witnessed and gone through it with me. I was finally strong enough to stand up and protect myself and my children. Without Sharon’s support and her professional qualities and her being right by my side through everything, I don’t think I would have been able to do this. I am no longer a victim of domestic violence but a survivor of domestic violence. Sharon showed me that I didn’t need to live the life that I was living and that one day I would find happiness. Well, Sharon was not wrong. She really showed me that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I am now happy in a relationship with a man that adores me and my children and we are due to marry soon. Sharon was and still is my back bone, a brilliant professional support worker, my strength, one of my best friends, a lady that I could not thank enough and a truly inspirational woman.
A survivor of domestic violence.
I have known Sharon for 6 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside her when I chaired the Westminster MARAC. Sharon is a committed, empathetic supporter of women who are or have experienced domestic abuse. She regularly goes the extra mile to make sure her clients are safe and is passionate about the women she supports and the wider agenda around Violence against Women and Girls. I would not hesitate to recommend Sharon to any organisation, statutory or voluntary in relation to individual intervention or strategic work around these issues.
Former Chair of The Westminster MARAC.
I knew Sharon as a work colleague over ten years ago. At the time, she was supporting vulnerable people, some of them were homeless due to domestic abuse and substance misuse. For me, assisting such people was what anyone in her role would be expected to do. However, the passion and human heart with which the vulnerable people were given by Sharon is what attracted my attention. It was whilst I worked with Sharon, that I learned, with admiration, how strong and courageous Sharon was (and still is) in fighting domestic abuse. The empathy and care which she showed, and the passion she had in fighting inequality as well as pursuing justice for those affected became her trademark. Sharon is an honest and reliable person whose objectivity in the way she deals with issues has made her rise above prejudice. I consider myself fortunate that I have benefitted from her friendship and her expertise. The positive impact she has made to many vulnerable lives and those in distress will, in my view, remain one of the greatest gifts she could ever give to mankind. I would certainly recommend Sharon for future assignments or projects where her services or expertise is sought or required.
Ted Chanza, Head of Market Operations, Airtel Malawi Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa.
Thank you so much for all the support you have given me. You really have been amazing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with Child Protection without you. The amount of strength you have given me is totally priceless, even with you attending court with me and my son to support us. The Freedom Programme was fantastic. What I have taken away with me from group is also priceless. The work you do for women like me is amazing. We need more Sharon Bryan’s in the world.
A survivor of domestic abuse.
I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Sharon when she was the Advocacy Manager at Woman’s Trust and I was working for Westminster City Council. During this time Sharon developed and managed the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service. Sharon is one of a kind. Her personal and professional knowledge and understanding of violence and abuse against women and children is extensive and her ability to navigate complex and often rigid public service policy to deliver what is needed by women and children subject to violence is to be commended.
Ainslie O’Connor – Principal Advisor for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Adelaide, Australia.
I first met Sharon back in 2000 when I went into a refuge she worked in after fleeing a violent relationship. I had two babies and virtually just a bag of clothes and a few toys with us. She helped me with appointments with the police, solicitors and generally helped me understand the severity of what I’d been through as I had managed to minimise the trauma I had gone through. I moved out of the refuge, but not for long. He found out where I was. I spoke to Sharon who advised me to go back into the refuge. I spent a total of sixteen months in the refuge altogether. Sharon was so supportive then, her advice and understanding helped me through one of the worst times of my life, and she’s been there for me ever since. She empowers women. A real life angel!
A survivor of domestic abuse.