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  • WWA Conference


  • Wales and England's Women's Aid issue statement on 'Delilah'

    Women's Aid England and Wales issue statement on 'Delilah'

    Fri, 12th Dec 14

    Eleri Butler, CEO of Welsh Women's Aid and Polly Neate, CEO of Women's Aid Federation of Engand said:

    "We ask the Welsh Rugby Union not to actively promote singing the song 'Delilah' as many people sing this song and don't realise what it's about - it is a man singing about killing his female partner, and in England and Wales this happens to two real women every week. It's a well known and popular song, but its message is nothing to celebrate.”

    If you live in Wales you can phone the All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline (freephone) on 0808 80 10 800. You will be able to speak personally to a professionally trained Helpline staff member.

    Read the full statement here.

  • Day 16: Welsh Women's Aid, A Day in the Life (Director of Operations, Gill Owens)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    Director of Operations
    Gill Owens

    Every day in this role is different.  Since joining Welsh Women’s Aid in June 2014, originally to manage the business and support its staff during the period between Chief Executive Officers , that being Paula Hardy leaving us in the spring and Eleri Butler joining in November, it has been a real privilege to work in this sector and with some incredible people. I have spent a great deal of time talking with both staff and our member groups, gaining an in depth insight into the challenges faced not only by the victims that we support, day in, day out but also of the continual struggle that our members face to ensure there is sufficient support locally to help women and children fleeing domestic abuse,  find safe refuge from harm.

    It has been a whirlwind 6 months and in addition to working with our wonderful team in our Head office in Cardiff it has been my privilege to work with our delivery teams based in North Wales.  Spending time in Wrexham and Colwyn Bay Women Aid has given me first hand experience of the incredible work all our members and providers of Domestic Abuse do year in year out to ensure service users and victims are given the individual support they need, and as for our incredible staff in the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence helpline.

    During this 16 Days of Action Welsh Women’s Aid has released a Survivor’s story each day, detailing the incredible stories of individuals’ journeys from fear and abuse into safety and reclaiming their lives and it makes me very proud of this sector. 

  • Stories of Hope & Survival: Day 16

    Dear past!
    Thank you for all of life’s
    lessons you’ve
    given me.
    Dear future, I’m ready now.


  • Day 15: Welsh Women's Aid, A Day in the Life (Refuge Co-ordinator, Joanne Hammond)

    Welsh Women's Aid, A Day in the Life

    Refuge Co-ordinator

    By Joanne Hammond

    My role as refuge co-ordinator is a diverse role which incorporates both planned and unplanned tasks and responsibilities. Over the last five years working in refuge I can truthfully say there are no two days that are ever the same. On walking into the refuge you are never quite sure what your day will consist of and what has happened prior to your arrival. This is the part of the role that I find most rewarding and positively challenges me on a daily basis.

    The role consists of supporting women and families accessing emergency accommodation from the initial contact through to their move on from refuge. This encompasses working as part of team,  key working, liaising with partnerships agencies, co-ordinating the on call rota, attending meetings, support plans, risk assessments, outcomes, house meetings, arranging activities  and managing all aspects of the day to day running of refuge.

    The day begins with updating refuges online and reading an update of the women’s/children’s files. A task list is discussed with the team to clarify what needs to be completed that day. Due to one of the women moving on from refuge in the next few weeks we met to complete list of things that need to be carried out and support plan. A busy morning continued with many of the women wanting support with contacting benefits, housing the GP and emotional support. Completed unit checks and all health and safety visual checks.

    Considerable time was spent submitting a funding application for the young people in refuge to enable them to access local activities. This took precedence as there are little or no facilities and activities aimed at young people whilst waiting to be allocated a school place.
    The afternoon continued to be busy with supporting a woman with her discretionary funding application. I attended a housing appointment to view and sign for a property, which is a rewarding part of the role to see the transition for the woman and her son from how she was on entry into refuge to now being allocated her own flat in a safe area. Tenancy support was referred to which will enable continued support and ease the transition and move on from refuge. The on call worker was updated via email with a residents list to prepare them for taking over from the daytime team. At the end of the day the women’s and children’s files were updated on the day’s events and diverted the phones to the on call worker. Such a busy day however, this is the part of the job I enjoy the experience of how diverse and rewarding the role can be.

    The 16 days of Action to End Violence Against Women is crucial to keep the message prominent in people’s minds. The campaign also assists in raising awareness of violence against women and organisations that provide support. It is encouraging to see individuals getting involved which have included current and past service users.

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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.