Call our Crisis Line: 0141 773 3533

Answering your questions

Your questions

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is an abuse of power and trust. It is wrong and it is damaging. It can be physical, emotional, sexual and financial. It is overwhelming experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Domestic abuse costs the lives of 2 women in the United Kingdom every week. Domestic abuse is not caused by drugs, alcohol, poverty or stress although these may be contributing factors.

It is not caused by the person experiencing the abuse.

“Domestic Abuse (as gender-based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex-partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviours), sexual assault (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against her will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse (such as threats, verbal abuse, racial abuse, withholding money and other types of controlling behaviour such as isolation from family and friends).”
National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2000.

What women need to know:

  • The abuse is not your fault.
  • You DO NOT deserve to be abused
  • You cannot change someone who is abusive
  • Staying in the relationship WILL NOT stop the abuse
  • With time the abuse always gets worse

If you are, or have been, experiencing domestic abuse, you can find more information about how we can help here.

What is Dating Abuse?

“Dating abuse is a pattern of abusive behaviours used to exert power and control over a dating partner.” (Sanderson, 2008)

Abusive behaviour can start quite early in a new relationship, and signs to look out for include:

  • Negative comments about your appearance or clothing
  • Attempts to sabotage nights out with your friends
  • Swings from extreme romantic gestures to cruel and unnecessary comments or behaviour
  • Monitoring your movements 24/7
  • Incessant texts or phone calls

These are just some of the behaviours that perpetrators of abuse display at the start of a relationship.

If you are not sure if what you are experiencing is dating abuse, it can help you if you talk through your situation with someone. You can contact GEWA for support on 0141 781 0230.

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm to children/young people.

Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity.

Abusers can be male or female, adults or other young people and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.

The abuser may be a family member, or they may be someone the child encounters in a residential setting or in the community, including during sports and leisure activities.

There are four main types of child abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm.

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is severe and persistent ill treatment which undermines a child’s confidence and self-worth.
Emotional abuse includes degrading punishment, sarcasm, threats and not giving love and attention. All of these can undermine a child or young person’s confidence and damage their emotional and psychological development.

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.

The activities may involve physical contact or non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse.

Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Neglect

Neglect occurs when children’s or young people’s basic physical and/or psychological needs such as food, warmth, medical care, clothing and hygiene are not met.

Sometimes the neglect is deliberate, but often the person neglecting the child is not aware of the impact on the child/young persons wellbeing – both short and long term.

Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • ensure adequate supervision; or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

What forms can domestic abuse take?

Domestic abuse can involve several types of behaviour including, but not only, physical assaults – it can also be emotional, psychological, financial and/or sexual.

No matter what form of abuse you have experienced, you can telephone 0141 781 0230 or access our drop-in service. We are here to listen and support any woman experiencing any form of domestic abuse.

What is domestic abuse?

How do I know if what I am experiencing is Domestic Abuse?

It can help you if you talk through your situation with someone. You can contact GEWA for support on 0141 781 0230.

What is domestic abuse?

How common is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is very common with at least 1 in 4 women experiencing it at some point in their lives. Only a small number of incidents of domestic abuse are reported to the police so exact numbers are unknown.

Domestic abuse happens to women from all backgrounds and cultures, and is now classified as a crime in Scotland by the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2011.

What is the cause of domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse against a woman by a man is a misuse of power and control. Perpetrators of domestic abuse choose to behave in the way they do, and it is not behaviour that is outwith their control or an anger management problem (as some perpetrators may claim).

Within our society men continue to be awarded privilege over women and children and inequalities persist to this day. As such, domestic abuse by men against women can be seen as a consequence of the inequalities that continue to exist in our society.

What are my rights?

You have the right to live a safe and happy life. At GEWA we try to help you achieve this by moving on from abusive relationships through a combination of therapeutic and practical support such as one-to-one support, housing applications, and welfare benefits.

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What is refuge like?

Refuge is a safe space where you (and your children if applicable) can recover and try to move on from your experiences of domestic abuse.

We have 5 self-contained flats, all of which are furnished to a warm and comfortable standard. There is support staff for women, children and young people based within the refuge office, and there is a support plan put in place for all service users.

The amount of time you stay depends on individual needs, but 6 months is the average length of stay.

You can invite female friends are relatives to visit; unfortunately males over 16 are not able to visit or stay in the refuge. There is no curfew within our refuge spaces: all we ask is that you use the space appropriately (i.e. not staying away from your refuge flat for too many nights) – the spaces are in very high demand and we need to ensure they are utilised well.

For more information and answers to other questions about refuge, visit the Refuge page.

Is domestic abuse caused by alcohol and drugs?

No, but alcohol and drugs can exacerbate the abuse. The use of substances is not the underlying cause of domestic abuse. Many people who drink too much or take drugs do not abuse their partners or family members. Similarly, not all perpetrators of abuse drink alcohol or take drugs.

Perpetrators who use alcohol or drugs may use this as an excuse for their behaviour.

Women experiencing domestic abuse may also turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism for living with the violence. Sometimes perpetrators will blame the women’s alcohol/drug misuse as a reason for the abuse.

Is domestic abuse caused by mental health issues?

The behaviour involved in domestic abuse can lead people to believe that the perpetrator must have mental health issues. However, the vast majority of people with mental health problems do not abuse other people.

Most perpetrators of abuse can control their behaviour at work, with friends/other family members and as such abuse should be viewed as an individual choice.

Do some women choose abusive men?

Women do not actively seek out abusive men. Usually, men who are abusive do not display this aspect of their behaviour until the relationship is established.

It is also important to recognise that for some women domestic abuse will not be their first/only experience of abuse. Experiencing another form of abuse previously can make a woman more vulnerable to other forms of abuse, especially if she has not received the appropriate support.

What are the effects of domestic abuse on women?

Women can be affected by domestic abuse in a number of ways. All women will react to their own individual experiences in their own way, which can be one or more of the following:

  • Isolation (from family and friends)
  • Physical effects such as loss of appetite/weight, sleep problems
  • Emotional and psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, lowered self-esteem
  • Physical injury
  • If they are pregnant they may miscarry or the baby may be a stillbirth
  • Difficulties in parenting following abuse
  • Loss of income or work
  • Homelessness
  • Long term impact on financial security/career

Why is domestic abuse linked to pregnancy?

There is a very clear link between domestic abuse and pregnancy. Between 4 and 9 women in every 100 are abused during their pregnancies and/or after the birth. GEWA work very closely with NHS maternity and health visiting services to ensure expectant and new mothers are offered appropriate services for domestic abuse.

What can I expect from GEWA?

GEWA will listen to your experiences in a non-judgemental and supportive manner. We will help you work out what you want to do as your next steps, and inform you of all our services available. What you say will be held in confidentiality – the only time we would be bound to breach this confidentiality is where we feel you are at severe risk of harm, or where there are Child Protection issues.

You can contact GEWA for support on 0141 781 0230, or access our drop-in service.

Who can get help from GEWA?

All women, children and young people can access help from GEWA.

Unfortunately we are not funded to offer a service to males over 18. However, if you call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234, they can refer men on to appropriate services.

What happens when I contact GEWA?

If you contact us by phone, we will speak with you about your options and what you’re experiencing at present (or what you experienced in the past). These options include practical support including safe housing options, one-to-one counselling and support and group work programmes.

We will give you times when the service is open, it is often more helpful if you can come into the office and have a face-to-face chat with us. [link to drop-in service]

If you experience difficulties in getting to the office in Easterhouse, we can arrange to meet at a more appropriate location for your needs.

[this also needs more info about what happens when you drop-in :| ]

Do I have to live in the East End of Glasgow to get support from GEWA?

Not at all, you can access support from GEWA no matter where you are from. For convenience it is better to go to your local Women’s Aid Group, but often it is safer for you to move to a different locality for your safety – ultimately this is your choice.

If you stay in the North East area of Glasgow (from Springburn to Bailleiston) we can offer an outreach service to you for your safety and convenience. We have outreach services in Parkhead, Royston, Possilpark, Bridgeton and Shettleston. We are very open to new outreach areas, and can meet in places like GP surgeries and housing associations.

Do I have to come to GEWA in Easterhouse for support?

No, we can meet you in a more suitable location for you if Easterhouse is not possible.

If you stay in the North East area of Glasgow (from Springburn to Bailleiston) we can offer an outreach service to you for your safety and convenience. We have outreach services in Parkhead, Royston, Possilpark, Bridgeton and Shettleston. We are very open to new outreach areas, and can meet in places like GP surgeries and housing associations.

Do the police have to be involved?

The police will be involved only at your request.

The police now have a dedicated Domestic Abuse Unit and, with Domestic Abuse now legally a crime in Scotland, the police have more experience in domestic abuse cases than ever. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to report the abuse, GEWA will not influence your decision.

Will I always see the same worker at GEWA?

All of the staff within GEWA cover the crisis support service, therefore if you use this a number of times it is likely to be different staff. All staff are experienced in listening to and supporting women, and you will be supported in a safe and confidential manner.

If you are offered the counselling and support service, you will have a dedicated named worker for the length of your counselling journey.

I have a disability. What additional support is available?

Our public office is wheelchair accessible and there is a lift. One of our refuges was specifically designed to be accessible to women and children with physical and/or sensory impairments.

Is the service only open to straight women?

No, we offer a service to all women, regardless of their sexual orientation (e.g. lesbian or bisexual). We also offer a service to transsexual and transgender women.

Do you offer legal advice?

Yes, there is a legal surgery in GEWA every Thursday morning. If you think you require legal assistance please do not hesitate to contact our office on 0141 781 0230 to make an appointment. If you cannot make a Thursday morning, we can give you the details of the lawyer and make a separate appointment.

[need to clarify that staff cannot offer legal advice]