Woman launches free self-defence classes in Birmingham after rise in domestic abuse during lockdown

A Birmingham woman has launched free self-defence classes - taught by an MMA fighter - in a bid to help women after a surge in domestic abuse incidents during the pandemic.

The lessons have been set up by Sham Murad from Ladywood, who feels inspired to help women defend themselves against violence.

She hopes the sessions at Lozell's Tao Centre will be enough to equip women with the right confidence and self-defence skills.

Sham Murad said: "It's the fact that domestic violence was rising during the pandemic and when women were locked up in their houses with the partners."

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Set up since the latest lockdown restrictions were eased, so far the class has proved popular. It's being hailed as a way to have fun while dealing with a serious issue.

It's led by trained MMA fighter Jason Wynters who said: "I was quite keen to try and help and provide tools that they can potentially use to help protect themselves - I think is really important."

The street and self-awareness course aims to continue to help women gain skills to confidently assess danger.

Where to get help if you are a victim of domestic abuse

  • Women's Aid's live chat service is open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and Sat-Sun 10am-12pm.

  • Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline offers free support 24 hours a day to victims and those who are worried about their loved ones.

  • Safe Spaces are available in pharmacies across the UK, including Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons. Once inside, you will find specialist domestic abuse support information. Some Safe Spaces will respond to the Ask for ANI codeword.

  • NSPCC helpline offers advice and support for anyone with concerns about a child.