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Reflecting on 2018

26 Dec 2018 Article Image

As we near the end of 2018 and step into the new year, we take some time to reflect on what the year has meant to us at Grampian Women’s Aid.  There has been much sadness and heartache and, sometimes, just sometimes, it can be a challenge for us to see beyond this.  Yet it is so important to remember that there is also, always, a great deal of hope and courage and, ultimately, such good and positive outcomes for many of the women, children and young people we support.  

Thinking about the year behind us, each of us at Grampian Women’s Aid chose one thing that meant a lot to us in 2018.  Here’s what we said:

..... “we were chosen to develop, with colleagues from other Women’s Aid organisations, the specialist coercive control training and training packs for the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act, the training will be finalised.  The first of the training for our Support Workers will take place late in December 2018 and, in the new year, once the new law is in place, we will be specialist trainers for partner agencies in our area. I’m very proud to be part of that.”

..... “we have seen strong and supportive working relationships between Women’s Workers and our new Children and Young People’s Workers. That’s so important to ensuring we provide the best support we can to our clients.”

..... “we have seen an increase in sustained tenancies where women leaving refuge and outreach have secured their own tenancies leading to stability and security in their homes.”

..... “by the end of the year we will have a full complement of staff and we continue to attract highly skilled and diverse people to our organisation.”

..... “our Children’s & Young People’s service continue to grow with our two support workers having a really positive impact on the youngsters we support. So much so that one young person recently told me that she wants to do my job when she grows up!”

..... "we continue to increase and improve our work with other agencies.  I’m thinking specifically about a vulnerable client who moved homes safely in a very short timescale as a result of supportive action taken by our housing partners. She has so much more self-confidence because of that move. It’s so good to see that.”

..... “Peterhead Academy and St Margaret’s School Secondary 3 pupils each secured £3000 of funding for us via the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. We attract the support of pupils throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who go on to represent us at this annual event. That is so important for the future.”

..... "we were really pleased to develop our Evaluation of Outreach and Children’s & Young People’s Services report.  This provided important feedback from our service users and helped us identify our strengths and areas where we need to improve.”

..... "we now have links with Aberdeen University who share information about our services around campus. I feel this is a really important step in raising awareness of domestic abuse amongst younger people.”

..... "we were very pleased to present at the Aberdeen Violence Against Women Partnership launch event for the annual 16 Days of Action Activism Against Gender-based Violence.”

..... "we had our first Children’s & Young People’s Away Day at Blair Drummond Safari Park. It took a lot of organising but it was so worth it.  Everyone had so much fun and it was a great chance for mums and the children to relax”.

..... "the training we provide – for ourselves, the public and other agencies – is very good. I’m new to the organisation and attended “Why Doesn’t She Leave?” recently. It was such an eye-opener.”

So, twelve achievements important to each of us in 2018 as we head into the next twelve months. 

Our Manager says: “through the day to day challenges of being a Women’s Aid Manager, there isn’t a day that goes, that I’m not reminded of how much I admire the bravery of the women, children and young people who reach out to our service.  Within our society, we should be ashamed of what has, and what does, ‘go on behind closed doors’, and indeed, what will continue into 2019.  Domestic abuse is a violation of human rights and this year we have campaigned, and will continue to campaign, for society’s change in attitude and response to domestic abuse.  Thank you to all who have been involved in these campaigns and supported us along the way."

And, as 2018 ends, the final word goes to our Board of Trustees Chairperson: “Having been on the Board now for 3 years I continue to be impressed by the committed and experienced staff who work within the organisation.  We have seen strong and supportive working relationships between our Women’s Workers and our Children and Young Persons Workers which have proved crucial in ensuring we provide the best support we can for all those who are and have experienced domestic abuse. These well-trained staff understand the challenges and when everyone works together women can stay safe and move forward in their lives with a real hope for the future.  I am proud to be part of this organisation.”