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


    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

    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

    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 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;

  • 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;

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Many women and children are forced to stay with violent partners because they feel they can’t leave their pets behind – and in some instances violent men are also violent towards the family pets


Abuse in the home is not a rare problem, it is just rarely admitted as one

Hidden Hurt -

Psychological / Emotional Abuse

Emotional and Psychological abuse includes a range of non-physical controlling behaviours that cause emotional damage and undermine a persons sense of well-being.

Emotional and Psychological abuse includes:

·      Telling someone they are worthless,

·        Telling them no one else wants them,

·        Forcing someone to do things at an exact time or in an exact way,

·        Undermining a persons actions, thought and beliefs,

·        Telling someone they are weak and could not manage to look after themselves on their own,

·        Making someone believe they are mad,

·        Telling someone that the domestic violence and abuse is their fault.

·        Not allowing someone to have visitors,

·        Controlling who a person is friends with,

·        Not allowing them to go out,

·        Not allowing someone to see their family and friends,

·        Not allowing someone to be left alone with other people,

·        Not allowing someone to use the phone, send letters or emails.

·        Locking someone in a room or house,

·        Not allowing someone to go out to work, not allowing someone to go to college or evening classes,

·        Accompanying someone everywhere that they go in order to keep control over what they do, who they see and what they say.

·        Telling someone they are a bad parent,

·        Getting children to say and do things to upset someone,

·        Encouraging children to get involved in the abuse.

·        Abusing someone’s children or pets,

·        Damaging possessions,

·        Accusing someone of lying when they are not,

·        Telling someone they are fat, ugly and useless,

·        Making someone believe that no one else likes them.

·        Threatening to harm someone, or to harm their children or pets.

·        Threatening to have someone locked up saying that they are mad,

·        Threatening to have someone deported or withholding care if someone is aged, ill or disabled,

·        Telling someone they will find and kill them if they leave,

·        Threatening to abuse someone in front of their children, family or friends.

Emotional abuse is often difficult to recognise. It can be very subtle, often being overlooked by a person’s friends and family. The person affected may not even think or feel that abuse is taking place.

Emotional abuse can affect women and children experiencing it in many ways. It can leave deep psychological scars and can seriously damage the self-confidence of the person experiencing the abuse.

Research suggests that acts of animal abuse may, in some circumstances, be used to coerce, control and intimidate women and children to remain in, or be silent about, their abusive situation.  The threat or actual abuse of a pet can prevent women from leaving situations of domestic violence.

Many women and children are forced to stay with violent partners because they feel they can’t leave their pets behind – and in some instances violent men are also violent towards the family pets. Research shows that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence: men who are violent to women may threaten to harm or actually kill a beloved pet in order to intimidate their partner, therefore maintaining their power and control.


According to the organisation Paws for Kids, 46% of women indicated that their partners had threatened to harm their pets, 29% indicated their partners had harmed their pets, 81% of the respondents had children and 41% of the children in these families had witnessed threats or actual violence to their much-loved pet.

The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline Fourth Year Statistics report recorded that 137 reports were made regarding the perpetrator being abusive towards the children, with 27 reports regarding being abusive towards pets.

A study by Women’s Aid Federation England also suggests that pet abuse is used by perpetrators of domestic abuse in the UK to try and control and coerce their partners/ex partners and children, reporting that callers to their National Helpline say that on average 9 pets a week are or have been abused by a perpetrator.

Why do Perpetrators use threats to pets?

According to Paws for Kids:

·        A perpetrator will use whatever there is in the home to maintain his power and control over his partner and children.

·        By harming a pet, a perpetrator reinforces a sense of terror in his partner and children. A perpetrator may not need to do anything else to demonstrate power.

·        By killing a pet, a perpetrator may be destroying the women or child's only form of comfort & support by cutting them off from the unconditional love of a pet, this will inevitably add to their feelings of isolation and despair.

·        If a pet is left in the home when a woman and her children go in to a refuge, a man may choose to harm a pet to re-enforce the fear that if she is not there her pets are not safe.

·        By threatening to harm a much-loved pet a child's silence can be bought by an abuser.

For many women and children who leave violent relationships, the options open to them regarding their pets are very limited. The services listed below ensure pets are cared for by a volunteer foster-carer until their owner is able to be reunited with them. All placements are strictly confidential.

RSPCA PetRetreat

Living with domestic abuse is hard, but can be made more difficult if you have a much loved family pet. Most refuges do not allow animals, which is where the RSPCA may be able to help you, your family and pet.

The RSPCA's PetRetreat service may be able to arrange for foster carers to look after your pet if you are fleeing domestic abuse. Your pet will be given a good home until you are settled and ready to look after it again.

If you have a pet and feel ready to leave your home to go into a refuge, or are in a refuge and have left your pet behind, please contact the RSPCA PetRetreat service.

Call: 0300 123 8278
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please be aware that we can only take cats and dogs that are over six months old and established family pets. This is because it is very unsettling for animals so young or new to your family to be moved around so much.

The next step...
Our PetRetreat leaflet explains what will happen once you have made contact with us. It also details other services that may be able to help.

Please be assured that all communication with you is confidential and that no one will ever be able to trace you through your pets.

Other Services that may be able to help:

North Wales

The Buster Foundation
Areas covered: Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighire, Flintshire, Wrexham.
Fosters for women who are living in these counties and women who are going into a refuge in the areas listed. 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 07722 361825

Cheshire and North of England based

0120 469 8999 (PAWS for Kids)


01554 750 100 (Llanelli Dogs Home)

01267 253847 (Paws and Claws - Bronwydd, Carmarthen)

01570 470 589 (Ty Agored, Cribyn, Lampeter)

01550 740 661 (Animal Rescue, Llandeust)

01267 237 958 (Animal Accident, Emergencies only, 4 Clos Morgan, Carmarthen)


01974 251 596 (Animal in Need)


01492 870 212 (Abandoned Animals)

01492 532 780 (RSPCA)

01492 532 346 (Animal Rescue)

Your local Women’s Aid group will also have more information about pet fostering schemes available in your area.

To contact your local Women’s Aid group please visit the Women’s Aid in Wales pages

If you are experiencing emotional/psychological abuse, or domestic abuse of any kind, contact the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.