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  • Welsh Women's Aid: A Day in the Life (Day Two: PA to the CEO Emma Harris)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    PA/Executive Support Officer
    Emma Harris

    A large part of my role revolves around our CEO’s schedule and work priorities, and supporting our Board of Trustees so that they can effectively govern the charity. I coordinate meetings, organise diaries and ensure our CEO is fully prepared for each meeting or event she attends. I also support Senior Managers and coordinate the day-to-day running of our head office, regularly liaising with managers in our regional offices to keep on top of any issues and ensure the smooth running of the organisation.

    My working day starts with dealing with emails and calls that have come in, which range from dealing with phone systems being upgraded, to confirming our CEO’s attendance at a conference and organising her visits to local services. 90% of my job is about being organised, communicating well internally and with other organisations, and staying on top of all tasks. 

    We have a Trustee Board meeting coming up, so I take the opportunity to get feedback from all managers on their actions following the last meeting, using a tracking spreadsheet, which is really useful for keeping everything on track, and gives the managers and Trustees an overview of tasks completed and outstanding -I love spreadsheets! In between working on different tasks – like fixing office equipment, getting value for money from our suppliers and sourcing quotes for printing materials - I keep an eye on emails and calls as they come in for our CEO, if she is out at meetings or visits, and coordinate her Outlook calendar.

    Back office functions may not be glamourous but are vital in ensuring Welsh Women’s Aid operates efficiently, and allows my colleagues to carry out their roles working to help survivors, service users and our members.

    The 16 Days campaign is a great way of engaging with the public, and I always find it truly inspiring to attend events where survivors of violence against women and girls are able to speak out and tell their stories.

  • Stories of Hope and Survival: Day Two

    Stories of Hope and Survival: Day Two

    7 years ago I met him, was swept away. I was his whole world and he needed me, I was only 18 and had never felt like this before.

    The true colours started to show the first time we went out with other people. The jealousy caused by me talking to other men in the group ended with me being pushed down the stairs in the club.

    The next day he was full of remorse and made it out that he was just upset that he might lose me.

    The violence became regular, however, he was always careful to not leave marks in viewable areas. The odd black eye when he was uncontrollably drunk, which I would make obscene excuses for. Then came our beautiful daughter. I then realised what love really was and knew I didn't love him and he didn't love me. After all, would you treat the person you love this way?

    He would say "our sprog" was an accident and how I trapped him. Another occasion I was told to "kill myself because I wasn't needed". The emotional abuse would destroy me. I wore dark colours, never wore makeup and looked unwell. My daily routine was ridiculous, make his breakfast, put out his clothes including his shoes. Bath ready when he came home and tea on the table.

    The abuse was becoming more frequent and more dangerous. A particular football game where his team lost ended with me being thrown against a wall and giving me concussion. Sex was a chore, I would be told to "go upstairs" and I could never deny him otherwise he would threaten to throw me out.

    My life was numb, accustomed to abuse and lonely.

    One night, in front of our daughter he broke my nose and kicked me while on the ground. The screaming that came from her still breaks my heart. The following Monday my mother was looking after my daughter. Innocently she confessed that "Daddy hit mummy and made her cry". My mother took me for tea on the Wednesday and said “if he's hitting you tell me”. I then cried, felt the world was lifting and begged her to help me.

    The plan was to go home, act like everything was normal and to leave him the next day. I phoned his mother, told her what my daughter had said and could she tell her son that it was over. I had people staying with me that night in case he came but he stayed out drinking sending me a mix of nice and horrible messages.

    The next couple of weeks were hell, I had regained my life and I was starting to find myself again but he was worming his way back in.

    He would say "come to the cinema with me and our daughter and I'll leave you alone for a week". I would agree just for the peace. Then he would not leave my house and start getting aggressive if I asked him to leave so I was feeling trapped once again.

    My freedom finally came February of last year. After a night out he decided to come back to my house. I had the doors locked, and denied him entry. He broke through the window, and got into the house. I then did the bravest thing, I called the police. While they were on their way he assaulted me. Pinned me to the bed, asphyxiated me until I passed out and punched me in the face continuously until I came round again. The police came, took him away.

    That horrendous ordeal lead to a court case, restraining order and most importantly my freedom.

    I took emotional, physical and sexual abuse for 6 years. I now live with my daughter, I am happy, surrounded by friends and love my life! I will owe my daughter for what she did forever. She is my angel and my happiness is down to her.
    The first steps are hard, but I came out strong and empowered. I survived.

    Jesse - 2014
    [Name has been changed to protect identity]

  • Welsh Women's Aid: A Day in the Life (Day One: CEO Eleri Butler)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    Chief Executive Officer
    Eleri Butler

    I joined Welsh Women’s Aid at the beginning of November, after working for over 25 years in various roles on violence against women prevention. I’ve spent my first 2 weeks listening to colleagues, finding out who does what, visiting our local services, and meeting as many people as possible involved in our work – supporters, funders, services and survivors. Having moved back to live in Wales, I am very proud and privileged to be working with such wonderful colleagues and supporters, and I firmly believe our network of national and local services is one of the foremost achievements of the women's movement in Wales and the UK. 

    November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, sees the start of our annual 16 Days campaign to raise awareness of the need to prevent and end this violation of human rights. In the last few weeks there has been unprecedented coverage in the news of the success of feminist campaigning, such as a football club reversing its decision to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them and a sexist TV-series being axed, alongside media commentary on whether the use of awareness campaigns or politics is the best way of tackling the root cause of gender inequality.

    At Welsh Women’s Aid we don’t think this should be an either/or approach. Our awareness-raising work sits alongside our goal of working with European colleagues to change political systems to achieve gender equality. This includes highlighting the importance of state accountability and the need for countries to implement the European Convention to prevent violence against women and children and to promote and strengthen their human rights. Which is why we look forward to working together with colleagues across Wales to make sure proposed new legislation in Wales is the best it can be to prevention violence and abuse.  

    Our work is as important now as it was in 1978 when we started representing the national network of domestic abuse services. Between January to October this year, 122 UK women have been killed through known or suspected male violence. Last year, our All-Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline supported 27,972 callers, whilst many of our local domestic abuse services – which last year supported 6,351 survivors and 4,883 children and young people – are struggling to meet local needs in light of the challenges facing publicly funded services.

    Your support for our national work is vital if we are to successfully support and provide a voice for local services and survivors, whilst campaigning to end violence against women in all its forms. Please get in touch to find out how you can help or donate £3 by texting ‘BLHI37 £3’ to 70070.

  • 16 Stories of Hope and Survival - 33 Years

    33 Years....

    A relationship born from rebellion and thrill
    Defiant to parents, a child with a will.
    It will all end in tears they said with a frown,
    But all that I wanted was that bad boy in town.
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain.

    As I walked down the aisle the traditional bride
    My dad by my side with more sadness than pride
    Don’t do it he begged, it’s still not too late
    To change your mind and alter your fate
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    As I look back the sign’s crystal clear
    That controlling man that I once held so dear
    With harsh words and firm actions was put in my place
    Was nine years later until my dad saw my face
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    Removed from my loved ones, a family so dear
    No contact, no visits, a life filled with fear.
    Nothing to keep me, except one stubborn small bit
    To ashamed of the truth yet too frightened to quit
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    To those on the outside I was bubbly and loud
    A persona, a barrier created to banish the cloud
    Eleven years in I thought it would change
    When my children were born he became very strange
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    I protected my offspring with fearsome acts
    Keeping them safe from the harm and the facts
    For ten I years I coped, tears hidden not telling
    Taking the thumps, bones breaking not yelling
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    I hid it, I lied, I took all the blame
    Ensuring their childhood, like friends was the same
    Then one day it changed, one terrible view
    An argument wrong and at once they both knew
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    I knew all along that my bones they would mend
    The words hurt the most, venom without end
    Mind games and torment, a tiring state
    Hard to keep going with that on my plate
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    Friends started to question excuses I made
    Stopped coming to call, a price that I paid
    The violence continued, it quickened in pace
    Resulting in one time the blade by my face
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    My wardrobe of clothes shredded with glee
    The look on his face so scary to see
    My daughter objected which gained her his hand
    Was then that he crossed my line in the sand
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    They took him away those men in the van
    All of a sudden an old drunken man
    Protesting his rights and how he could do
    To his wife and his children what he wanted to
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years of my life down the drain

    I thought I would crumble, I thought I would fold
    Until friends ventured forward and I became bold
    No more am I cowed I know he was wrong
    I’m proud and I’m brave, what’s more I am strong
    33 years of anguish and pain
    33 years but never again...................

    Claire – 2014
    [name changed to protect identity]

  • 16 Days for Wales to Speak Out to Condemn Violence Against Women

    Welsh Women’s Aid is marking the International Day to End Violence Against Women [November 25th] and following 16 Days of Action to Human Rights Day,  [December 10th], with a number of local events across Wales including our annual joint ‘Light a Candle’ event in Llandaff Cathedral and ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ to mark the ’16 Days’ campaign.
    25 November: Light a Candle

    10.50am, Llandaff Cathedral: Welsh Women’s Aid in partnership with Bawso and other local organisations will hold the annual Light a Candle event. This multi-faith service will highlight the shocking prevalence of domestic abuse and violence against women in Wales, and encourage people to discuss this difficult subject and work together to find a way forward. Speakers will include the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM, who will be joined by survivors of abuse to talk about their experiences, and representatives of major world religions will read prayers about non-violence.

    25 November – 10 December: #16Days

    Survivors tell their stories

    Welsh Women’s Aid has produced an e-book of survivor stories. One story will be released for each of the 16 Days via social media and the Welsh Women’s Aid website. Through telling their stories, the women aim to bring hope and empower others to make changes in their own lives, and raise awareness of violence against women and girls.

    A Day in the Life of Blog Posts

    As part of the 16 Days, 16 staff members will provide an insight into a typical day in their life, providing a behind-the-scenes look at Wales’ lead domestic abuse organisation. A different staff post will be shared across social media and on our website on each of the 16 Days.

    Welsh politicians speak out

    Welsh Women’s Aid asked Assembly Members and Ministers to have photos taken with a sign showing what actions they have taken to work to eliminate violence against women and girls. Welsh Women’s Aid will be promoting one photo each of the 16 Days via social media.

    Social Media

    During the 16 Days, Welsh Women’s Aid will be using #16Days hashtag to raise awareness. The All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline will also be tweeting one myth and one fact about violence against women every day to challenge public perceptions of violence against women.

    6th December: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®

    1.30pm, Unite foyer - Welsh Women’s Aid is asking men,  women and their families from all over Wales to join us for this one mile walk to get people talking about male violence against women, help them understand women’s experiences, and  recognise the role they have to play in ending violence against women. The walk will conclude at Porter’s Bar and will include a speech by Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd.

    Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said:

    “Our 16 Days campaign, which coincides with global awareness events, aims to get people talking about the extent of violence against women that as a society we tolerate every day, highlight the desperate need for the life-saving services delivered across Wales by our member services, and how we should all be part of the solution to end violence against women in all its forms. In doing so, we must prioritise listening to survivors so that we can improve understanding of their circumstances and how to best meet their needs."

    “Violence against women does not just affect women. It affects those who care about them, their families, their friends, their co-workers and their communities. We need to educate children from a young age that violence is not acceptable, which is why we are calling for compulsory education on developing healthy relationships in our schools. We also need the help of local communities to support local services and to speak out against the violence and abuse in their midst. One woman killed every 2.5 days in the UK through suspected male violence is the price we pay for not taking violence against women seriously”. 

    Full details of the other events taking place over the ’16 Days’ campaign [November 25th – December 10th] can be found on the website

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On average, a woman experiences 35 incidents of physical violence before reporting it to the police


Domestic abuse occurs irrespective of gender, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, mental ability, physical ability, income, lifestyle or geographical area of residence.


Y Ffeithiau

Bydd 1 o bob 4 menyw yng Nghymru a Lloegr yn dioddef cam-drin yn y cartref gan ei phartner neu gynbartner rhyw bryd yn ystod eu bywydau ac yn y DU, caiff 2 fenyw'r wythnos eu llofruddio gan bartner neu gynbartner.

Mae digwyddiadau o gam-drin yn y cartref yn cyfrannu at bron chwarter y troseddau treisgar ac fe ymosodir ar fenyw 35 gwaith ar gyfartaledd cyn iddi gysylltu â’r heddlu. Ond, nid yw’r term ‘cam-drin yn y cartref’ yn cynnwys trais corfforol yn unig - mae’n disgrifio unrhyw ymddygiad ymosodol a ddefnyddir gan un person i reoli a/neu ddominyddu person arall lle ceir neu y cafwyd perthynas agos â nhw. Mae hefyd yn cynnwys un aelod o’r teulu’n ceisio rheoli a/neu ddominyddu aelod arall.

Mewn 90% o ddigwyddiadau cam-drin yn y cartref, mae plant yn yr un ystafell neu yn yr ystafell drws nesaf. Hyd yn oed pan nad yw’n ymddangos bod plant yn cael eu cam-drin yn uniongyrchol eu hunain, dengys ymchwil eu bod yn debygol o fod yn ymwybodol o’r hyn sy’n digwydd.
Mae traean o blant yn ceisio ymyrryd yn ystod ymosodiadau ac weithiau, bydd plant yn teimlo’n euog os nad ydynt yn helpu eu rhiant.
Amcangyfrifir bod rhwng traean a dau draean o blant sy’n byw mewn cartrefi lle caiff y fam ei cham-drin, mewn perygl o gael eu cam-drin yn uniongyrchol hefyd.
Am ragor o wybodaeth ar effeithiau cam-drin yn y cartref ar blant a phobl ifanc, cliciwch yma