nia, formerly Hackney Women's Aid (Hackney WA) and the nia project was established in 1975. The organisation achieved charitable status in 1994 and registered as a company limited by guarantee in 1991.
In 1998, Hackney WA opened one of the first domestic violence advice centres in London. The publicity surrounding the opening of the centre led to a significant increase in referrals which helped to highlight the level of need for such services. The organisation set about developing in-house legal services, specialist advice services for Turkish-speaking women and a range of services for children and young people.
In November 2005 the nia project received a Mayor of London Award of Distinction in recognition of outstanding and innovative work to further the aims of the London Domestic Violence Strategy and to make London a safer place. This award was for the work of the nia project in establishing services for women in LB Hackney's Turkish-speaking communities, who had previously found it extremely difficult to access language and culturally-specific and appropriate support for gender violence.
Today, nia remains committed to working within a feminist ethos providing services mainly in north and east London. A key element of our work is creating a context in which women and children can achieve self-determination and empowerment. Within this framework the organisation has ensured that its value base and services have evolved in response to emerging needs, changing population and new / revised ways of thinking about violence against women and children. As a result we have created a broader spectrum of services for a wider client base delivered across a larger geographical area. nia works with child and adult survivors of gender violence, as opposed to providing services exclusively for survivors of domestic violence.