Women's Aid grew out of the Women's Liberation Movement of the '60s & early '70s. As women raised their consciousness in groups, they began to explore gender inequality, particularly in relation to violence in the home and connections with other forms of sexual violence.
Through concerted lobbying, primarily by groups of Feminists, legal changes were made. The first Domestic Violence Bill was introduced in 1976 to give rights, through injunctions, for those at risk of violence. The Housing Act (Homeless Persons), which followed in 1977, ensured that women & children, at risk of violence, were acknowledged as homeless & gained the right to state help with temporary accommodation.
The first Women's Aid Federation was set up in 1974, providing practical & emotional support as part of a range of services for women & any accompanying children/young people experiencing domestic violence. Since then almost 40 autonomous refuge services have spread throughout the country, with Dumbarton District Women's Aid, inspired by Clydebank Women's Aid (who began in 1981), opening it's doors in 1987 (having offered telephone support prior to this). We moved to a new purpose built, barrier free, refuge with 10 self contained flats in 2005.
DDWA are part of global network, with a National Office which has been in existence for over 35 years. We were involved in facilitating a workshop for Scottish Women's Aid conference celebrating this: "Feminism Spoken Here". Link: http://www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk/. Our campaigning and lobbying, as part of Women's Aid, in conjunction with partnership working, has brought about changes to other policies and legislation through "Changing Attitudes Changing Lives".
We can offer Training/Awareness Raising about Domestic Abuse to local agencies/organisations. Contact us if you would like us to come and facilitate this to your group. Recently, a worker co-facilitated 6 sessions, with the Criminal Justice Women's Safety Worker, to groups of workers from various agencies, within West Dunbartonshire,, on: "Working with women vulnerable to or involved in Prostitution". Link:http:// .www.togetherwecanstopit.org/ (Nov 2012 "What do we mean by choice?") as well as a session on: "Gender Inequality and Violence against women". Women who have used the service have had their voices heard directly at some of these Campaigns/events, promoting an end to Domestic Violence; either through public speaking or through displays of writing from a Therapeutic Writing Group offered in Refuge. Many women who have experienced domestic abuse go on to work within Women's Aid.
In 2013, the group has the following workers:
Supporting Women-2 Refuge workers: 1 Follow on/Outreach worker and 1 Counsellor/Wellbeing worker (part time)
Supporting Children & Young People: 1 full time/1 part time Family Resource worker and 1 full time/1 part time Children & Young People's Outreach Support worker.
Refuge Manager, Administrator (part time) & Maintenance Worker (part time).
We have a Women only Management Committee.If you are interested in becoming involved, on an unpaid basis, contact the group for further information. Knowledge of gender based violence is essential, as is a commitment to equality and diversity.