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Sandra Horley

Our board
  • Non-executive director

Dame Sandra Horley was born and raised in Canada. For 37 year she was Chief Executive of Refuge, the national charity supporting women and children experiencing domestic abuse. Sandra grew a single shelter for abused women into the UK’s pre-eminent provider of support services for survivors of gender-based violence, including rape, sexual assault, stalking, forced marriage, honour-based violence’, modern slavery, and human trafficking. She used her position as a platform to advocate for change and worked closely with the police, the legal profession, and government to deliver legal, institutional and attitudinal reform. 

Sandra has advised Governments, nationally and internationally, at the highest levels on gender-based violence and criminal justice.  She has supported families bereaved by domestic homicide and was a member of the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel. She sat on the Home Secretary’s national oversight committee to improve police response to domestic violence.

Previously, Sandra worked as director of the Haven Project in Wolverhampton supporting abused and homeless women and children.  Sandra has been a homelessness officer and housing advice worker for two local authorities in Shropshire and London.  

Currently, she is a board member of the Victims and Survivors Service, an arms length body of the Northern Ireland Executive Office, which provides funding and support for victims and survivors of the Troubles.

In 2021 Sandra was awarded Damehood for her contribution to the protection of women and children and for promoting greater understanding and awareness of domestic abuse.