Latest News

  • WWA written evidence for GBV Bill

    Submission to the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee regarding the ‘Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill’

     Click here to read more

    Summary of WWA written evidence on the ‘Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill’

    Click here to read more

  • Christmas Card Making Competition

    Too soon for Christmas………Never

    Hello!

    Christmas Card Making Competition for women and children in refuge and in the community

    Christmas talk is in the air once more. We thought it would be a great idea to encourage a little bit of Christmas card making activity for women and children in refuge. The aim is to gather a few of the best card designs from across Wales that we could get printed and then sell for fundraising. There will be certificates for the best artists, and chosen designs, of course!

    Would you like to get involved?

    If so, gather your troops for some card making fun and send the best two or three designs to me on the address below (or email good quality pictures if you can).

    We are looking to choose 5 designs overall, so get creative!!

    We will celebrate the venture on the website and on social media, so any cards you send will be put out there too. The cards will contribute to our activities for 16 Days as well, see http://www.16dayswales.org.uk/.

    Deadline for cards is the 15th October, so we have plenty of time to print and distribute.

    Get involved, have some fun, It’s Christmas! Nearly :0)

    If you would like any more information about our engagement and participation activity, or if you would like me to come along and meet with groups while they are doing this (I love a bit of card making), just get in touch.

    Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think would be interested in taking part.

    Sally Hughes
    Engagement and Participation Officer, Welsh Women’s Aid Pendragon House, Caxton Place, Pentwyn, Cardiff, CF23 8XE
    02920 541551

    sallyhughes@welshwomensaid.org.uk

    Twitter: @WWA_Engagement

  • Exciting new engagement project!

    We want to develop meaningful ways for women and children to feel empowered, supported and motivated to share their experiences, in order to inform policy and practice. Designed with this aim in mind, our new Engagement and Participation project is about building relationships with women and children who have lived through the experience of domestic abuse or other forms of Violence against Women, or who have an interest as a stakeholder. The aim of this work is to be responsive to need, to build the confidence of women and children, and enable them to take steps towards achieving their potential, to generate greater understanding of the causes and effects of domestic abuse and other forms of Violence against Women, support capacity building with our members, and work closely with all stakeholders. We aim to listen to, learn from and value the involvement of women and children. We are keen to promote the benefits of engagement and participation, it builds courage, confidence, and skills. Our hope is that the telling of women’s and children’s shared experience is moving, and inspirational for others. We hope that the women and children who take part can see how their contribution makes a difference. We want to recruit women and children who are interested in taking an active role in consultations, media work, community development and awareness raising. We will begin building a ‘Voices Network’ through which to gather a range of voices. We will develop toolkits, guidance, briefings and training for individuals who take part, our members and stakeholders. Over the next few weeks, Sally Hughes, our Engagement and Participation Officer, will be starting to make contact with our members as she is keen to develop the programme with your input. If you have any thoughts or ideas, or would like to share any of the service user involvement work you are doing presently with women and children who are service users, ex-service users or in the community, you can contact her on sallyhughes@welshwomensaid.org.uk or ring 029 20 541 551.

  • Male Ambassadors Project

    We are currently looking for high profile men to act as ambassadors for WWA to speak out against violence against women. If you know any men who you think would like to participate, or would fit this role, please contact Meg Kissack, Campaign & Events Officer;

    megkissack@welshwomensaid.org.uk

  • Children & Young People’s funding campaign

    Welsh Women's Aid are looking to start a campaign for funding for children's work in Wales. We last carried out research in 2012 and intend to see what the national picture looks like two years later. We are busy collating data from our members, and aim to use the findings to campaign for increased funding availability for children's work across Wales.

    If you have any ideas, or would like to get involved,  please contact Meg Kissack, Campaign & Events Officer; megkissack@welshwomensaid.org.uk

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Contrary to theories of domestic violence that portray battered women as helpless, most women surviving in abusive relationships leave many times and routinely act in conscious ways to try to minimize the abuse directed at them and to protect their children.

 

Research shows that women are victims in 95% of domestic violence cases. To the extent women do use violence, it is generally in self-defense. Reports of violence against men are often exaggerated because abusers will accuse their partners of using violence as a way to avoid or minimize their own responsibility. In addition, men who do experience domestic violence have more access to resources to leave violent situations than do women.

 

Myths and Realities

There are a lot of things that people say about domestic abuse that are wrong.

Myths serve as convenient excuses for abusers not to take responsibility for their behaviour.

There is no excuse for domestic abuse.

"It was a one-off, he’s really sorry and it won’t happen again"

Once a man has started to abuse it is likely to happen again. Abuse is rarely an isolated, one-off incident. Usually it is part of a pattern of controlling behaviour, that becomes worse with time.

Controlling behaviour is things like telling someone what to wear, who to see, being very possessive and jealous, and undermining another's self-confidence and self-esteem continously. Violence or the threat of violence is used by the controller to get his own way.

Men often say they are sorry after incidences of abuse, they may make promises and say they will never do it again. Often women who have left home return to abusive partners because of these promises. There may be a period where the man appears to be non abusive by being attentive, charming and helpful.  However most abusers will abuse again, and this phase of being nice soon changes to the old pattern of controlling behaviour.

"Abusers are violent towards their partners because of unemployment, drugs, alcohol, childhood experiences etc"

Domestic abuse takes place irrespective of income, lifestyle, sex, race, class, age, religion, sexuality and mental or physical ability.  Factors such as unemployment, alcohol and drug dependency and so on,  do not cause domestic abuse but contribute to exasperate the abuse.

There is no excuse for domestic abuse and violence.

"Domestic abuse only happens in certain communities; usually in working class, Asian or black families and there is the most domestic abuse on council estates."

Domestic abuse occurs within all communities: every class, race and culture. It is no more prevalent in one community than another.

There is no typical abuser and there is no typical abused woman. Domestic abuse can affect anyone.

Women’s Aid has supported women whose partners were builders, social workers, ministers, solicitors, teachers, psychiatrists, politicians, bus drivers, plumbers, armed forces, electricians, engineers, factory workers, doctors, police officers, civil servants....a wide range of occupations.

Most women who come to Women’s Aid for support have no other problems in their lives other than those caused by their partner’s violence and abuse.

"It’s not violence, they just fight."

Repeated violence is often accompanied by continual emotional abuse and threats. The fact that some women may attempt to defend themselves by resisting physically during an assault should not be taken to mean that the violence she is experiencing is "mutual fighting".

"Violent men just can’t control themselves, they must be mentally ill."

Most violent and abusive men are able to control themselves not to hit or abuse their partners in public or in front of others or to cause injuries that are visible.

Most violent men are abusive to their partners and children but never to anyone else.

Most men who abuse are able to function without violence in society, in the workplace and in all other contact with people.

We are all responsible for our own behaviour. For a lot of people it is easier to believe the myth that abusers are mentally ill than to accept that they know exactly what they are doing when they assault, rape or torture their partners or children. Abusers are responsible for their own actions, and behaving in aggresive ways or resorting to violent acts is intentional.

"Women choose this type of man"

Women are not aware when becoming involved with men whether they are violent or not, there are no signs. Most women’s experiences show that in the beginning of the relationship men are very attentive, loving and caring.

"It’s just the odd domestic tiff, everybody has arguments."

The difference between the occasional argument and domestic abuse is that domestic abuse is deliberate behaviour which is used by the abuser to exert power and control over the other person.

A range of different controlling behaviours are used in abusive relationships. They include depriving someone of sleep, criticising their appearance, telling them what to wear or where they can go, controlling who they are friends with or denying them access to their family, locking them up, threatening them with violence, hitting them, raping them or torturing them.

"Women get enjoyment, pleasure or satisfaction from their experiences of domestic violence"

Women’s experience has shown that this simply isn’t true. Domestic violence frightens and disempowers women. No-one wants to live in fear.

"She must get something out of it, or else she would leave."

There are many reasons why a woman stays in an abusive relationship but none of them are related to getting something out of the violence and abuse.

Often a woman is too frightened to leave, her partner may have threatened to kill her, the children or the pets. He might even have threatened to kill himself  if she goes. Research shows that most domestic murders take place at the point of leaving or after leaving and when a woman is in another relationship.

A woman may be worried about uprooting her children or having to leave them behind or having them taken into care if people find out about the abuse.

Many women blame themselves for the abuse, they think it is their fault. They may lack the confidence to leave or feel guilty and shameful about having allowed the abuse to happen to them and their children.

Many women are still unaware of the help and support available from agencies such as Women’s Aid and the Police.

Often abusers withhold money from their partners so women have no money with which to escape.

The woman’s abuser may have stopped contact with her family and friends so in a crisis she feels she has nowhere to turn.

Emotional abuse often leaves a woman feeling powerless, she may think she is not strong enough to leave, and / or strong enough to survive on her own once she has left.  She may worry that she wouldn’t be able to find somewhere to live or get money to live on.

Emotional abuse often leaves a woman feeling worthless, she may believe the lies her abuser has told her and think that no one else will want her or no one will understand or believe that she has been abused.

Many women are still emotionally attached to their partners despite the abuse. This does not mean they enjoy the violence but they may think that their partner will change or that they can stop the violence and make the relationship work.

Many women do not realise how common domestic violence and abuse is, they think they are the only one experiencing it.

Some or all of these reasons lead many women to believe that there is no way out of the abusive relationship and that they would be better off staying with their partner and putting up with the incidences of domestic abuse. Women cope by finding ways of appeasing their abusive partner by being ultra sensitive to his moods of behaviour.  This helps reduce the violence but it is short-lived as the abuser will always find something that 'upsets' him so that it justifies his abuse and violence against the woman or his children.

Some women may be carers for their aging or disabled member of the family (for example Asian women looking after aged parents in an extended family network). Escaping the violence would mean leaving dependents to fend for themselves and perhaps the risk of abuse from the partner.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and you need help and information regarding your options, contact a Women’s Aid group now.

"We shouldn’t interfere, it’s a private matter."

The abuse of an individual is not a private matter, 25% of reported violent crime is domestic violence. Most incidences of domestic violence still go unreported.

Domestic violence is a crime, we cannot go on ignoring it.

"She’s not really being abused, she’s just using it to be re-housed."

Women usually minimise rather than exaggerate their experiences of violence and abuse.

Very few women are re-housed quickly. They may have to spend many months in refuge or bed and breakfast accommodation before they are given somewhere new to live.

"People who are violent towards their partners must come from violent families."

Many people who are violent towards their partners come from families where there is no history of violence. Many abusers have brothers and sisters who are not violent and abusive. There is no typical abuser.

Within many families where violence has occured, individuals choose not to be violent.

"It's not just men, there are loads of violent women too"

Statistics show that 97% of reported incidences of domestic violence and abuse are perpetrated by men against women.

However domestic violence can occur in same sex relationships and can be perpetrated by members of the extended family. In a very small number of cases (3%) the perpetrators of this abuse are women.

Welsh Women's Aid maintains that domestic abuse is the result of the continued inequality between men and women in society.  Therefore, society tends to condone aggressive acts from men in the long term and boys are raised to assume control over women in all areas of work, home and relationships.