Shetland Women’s Aid marks 40 years of service

Shetland Women’s Aid has reflected on 40 years of supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse and how attitudes have changed since its work began. 

The charity is holding an informal birthday session with tea, coffee and food at the Flower Park Pavilion in Lerwick.

Mary Fraser and Anne Bain started supporting domestic abuse survivors during the 1980s and were initially met with some resistance.

“They didn’t take you seriously. I remember carol singing and it was to raise awareness [of domestic abuse] as well,” Ms Fraser said.

“Folk asked ‘what’s this for?’ and we said it was for Women’s Aid, and they were taken aback. Folk actually said to us ‘nah, that kind of thing doesn’t happen here'”. 

There were also attitudes that folk “shouldn’t get involved” in what happens in other people’s homes. 

Ms Bain said that, apart from emergency housing, no support was historically available for those suffering domestic abuse.

She noted that awareness of domestic abuse from the likes of television dramas and the media had made a “big difference” in changing such attitudes. 

Read the full story in this week’s Shetland Times


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