Little Paper Slipper: giving a creative voice to women affected by domestic abuse

CW: Domestic abuse

The charity Living Without Abuse asserts that domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women in their lifetime, with statistics from Women’s Aid reporting that domestic abuse-related crime accounts for 8% of total crime, and that on average the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds.

It’s clear that these figures are troubling, but it’s not so clear how we can connect with them on a non-statistical level, and how we can return power to the women who have experienced domestic abuse whilst respecting and allowing their privacy and anonymity.

That’s where Little Paper Slipper come in. Established in 2013, we aim to give a creative voice to women affected by domestic violence – and make that voice heard. The charity was founded by artist Marie-Louise Jones, who runs workshops with survivors of domestic abuse within women’s refuges. The workshops involve making and customising a papier mâché ‘little paper slipper’, which are to become part of biennial exhibitions.


The purpose of our charity is two-fold – the first being the workshops themselves, which aim to provide an empowering and therapeutic experience for the participants. Domestic abuse is about power, control, and the act of limiting another’s voice, and Little Paper Slipper offers women who have experienced that a means to find their creative expression and use it to speak out.

The second purpose is the exhibitions – founder Marie-Louise asserts that “when the women’s artwork is presented to the public it turns each woman into an activist by showing her creation to the world”. The exhibitions serve to raise awareness about domestic abuse by presenting a direct vice of women affected. The slippers hope to go beyond facts and figures and speak to people on a personal and emotional level.

And the name? Beyond the literal creation of the paper slippers, it stems from the story of Cinderella which was originally titled ‘The Little Glass Slipper’. The fairy-tale portrays repossessing a negative aspect of society and, through imagination, turning it into something beautiful, similar to how the women draw on their experience of domestic abuse to creative positive and empowering works of art.


The second biennial exhibition opens on Friday 23rd September at Islington Arts Factory from 7pm – 9pm. All are welcome and entry is free, with entertainment and refreshments provided on the night. The exhibition continues to run every day from 24th – 30th September from 11am – 5pm with free entry.

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– Lizzie Scourfield works as a U.S. news researcher and volunteers as a writer and contributor for charity Little Paper Slipper. Follow her on Twitter at @LizzieScours.