Reflecting on 201927 Dec 2019
As the sun sets on 2019 and we look forward to the new decade, we reflect on the year past and what it has meant for us here at Grampian Women’s Aid. Inevitably, in the work we do, we see much hardship, heartache and fear and, of course, this stays with us. However, we also see so much joy, hope and positivity as we watch women, children and young people we support move on to new lives and new beginnings. Lives with new-found confidence and ambitions, where they are safe, happy and, at last, free from fear.
In 2019, in every single day of the year, these women, children and young people inspired us with their bravery and their courage. And, as we go on to highlight our important events of 2019 and the progress we make, we think of them, of their strength …...and of why we do what we do.
Spring time at GWA
In March, thanks to some very generous and inspiring women at Macushla Holistic Hub, we celebrated International Women’s Day in style by holding a pamper event on 8th March 2019. Women we support, came from across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to enjoy an evening of beauty treatments, therapies and relaxation. There was so much fun and laughter throughout the evening and everyone left the event feeling very spoiled and special.
In April, it was all change when our manager became our Fundraising Lead and our new manager, Aileen, joined us. She says “From joining GWA 8 months ago I have been privileged to meet some extremely courageous and inspirational women and children whom we have helped to regain control of their lives. This year has seen Scotland lead the way with the new Domestic Abuse Law. We were proud to be part of a movement that campaigned for the legislation, and we were delighted to see it implemented, whilst recognising that there is still much work to be done. From a personal perspective, I have found our work with young people in schools is so encouraging for the future: their passion and enthusiasm for an improved society is extremely powerful. Of course, we could not do what we do without our GWA staff, and I could not ask for a more professional, engaged and dedicated team. I sincerely thank all who have supported GWA so generously, and I look forward to continuing our work together, meeting the challenges 2020 brings.”
In the summer time
In August, we held our first ever Grampian Women’s Aid Conference. The focus for the day was understanding coercive control, the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) law and the impact on local responses for women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse. The event was very well received, with over two hundred attendees, from across sectors including local authority housing and social work, health, police and education, attending on the day. They listened to speakers: Dr Marsha Scott, CEO of Scottish Women’s Aid who, working with women’s aid groups across Scotland, was instrumental in informing the new law; and Luke Hart who, with his brother, Ryan, lost the greatest part of their lives to domestic abuse and now campaign against male violence and coercive behaviour towards women. The session ended with a networking lunch and an opportunity to consider how each agency would support the new law to be effective in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Our training portfolio expands to include “The Effects of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People” and we provide a number of tailored training sessions to third sector and public sector agencies.
In early November, we were delighted to run the first public session of our specialist “Coercive Control & the New Law” training. This training was developed with colleagues from Scottish Women’s Aid and others from across the Women’s Aid network in Scotland and we’re privileged to be able to now run these sessions in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Initial feedback has been positive and constructive, and we look forward to building on this in the coming months.
Winter of 2019
The annual “16 Days of Action Against Gender Based Violence” campaign saw us holding a number of training events, campaigning each day on social media and working with our partners to finalise strategies to tackle violence against women and girls in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
In November, we asked the women, children and young people we support to help us choose this year’s Christmas appeal theme. They told us that one of the things they miss most, as they deal with the devastating effects of domestic abuse and restricted finances, is the ability to spend quality time together or with friends, participating in activities at home and out and about in the community. Hence, our “Quality Time” appeal was launched, and…. we were overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the support we received; overwhelmed by people’s generosity and overwhelmed by the difference these gifts made to every woman, child and young person we support.
All in all, a busy and eventful year. We look forward to the new decade and to continuing to campaign for society’s change in attitude and response to domestic abuse and for ultimately, a society free from domestic abuse. While doing so, we’ll continue, with your help, to support in every way we can the women, children and young people who reach out to our service.