Recently at the invitation of St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch, a small group of women gathered in the Dornoch Social Club to learn about the work of Caithness and Sutherland Women’s Aid (CASWA) which St Finnbarrs Charity Shop has supported with donations for several years. Those present were from the congregation of St Finnbarrs, volunteers from the Charity Shop, members of the Dornoch and District Community Association (DADCA) coffee group and some members of the Dornoch Cathedral Guild.
In an informal and interactive talk, the two speakers Carol an adult support worker and Jackie a child support worker, gave the group an idea of the different forms of abuse which women suffer, how children in a family can be affected and how CASWA supports them.
The physical nature of abuse is probably fairly well known but the speakers emphasised the insidious mental abuse to which many of the women who come to them are subjected. The coercive, dominating and controlling behaviour exerted by partners undermines women and leads to loss of confidence and self-esteem. The increasing role of social media in this kind of abuse was highlighted. Just one example of several we were given was that some women are tracked by their partners mobile phones when they are out of the house. Social media abuse is also a growing problem among young women still at school.
The work of CASWA is confidential and support workers are non-judgemental. Their role is to offer emotional and practical to help to abuse sufferers, to help them decide what to do, not tell them what to do. They then support them and any children involved in following through with their decisions. Although CASWA can no longer fund a safe house for abused women and children they have access to a national data base of organisations and authorities that can provide safe accommodation. If women and any children they may have are at immediate risk of harm they are therefore able to make referrals if necessary.
CASWA is responding to increasing numbers of requests for help. This reflects national trends. In 2016 -2017 there were 58,810 domestic abuse incidents reported to police in Scotland and there are certainly many more which were not reported.
CASWA can be contacted on:
Tel 0345 408 0151 (24 hour answer service)
National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234 (24 hours)
Office hours 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday
or by Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org