Scottish Women’s Aid celebrates 40 years of progress in helping women

Scottish Women’s Aid celebrates 40 years of progress in helping women
The Force News, by Paul Cardwell


Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland are celebrating 40 years of pioneering work to end violence against women in Scotland with a ceilidh.


The music and dancing event will take place at the Porty Wash House, Portobello, Edinburgh, on 20 May. There will be music from the Belle Star Ceilidh Band, a local and organic bar, lots of dancing and a raffle.


It is one of a series of events to mark four decades of campaigning against, and supporting women who have experienced, domestic and sexual violence violence in Scotland.


Scottish Women’s Aid was founded in 1976 in order to provide national representation for the growing network of Women’s Aid groups throughout Scotland, the first of which were founded in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1973.


A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “We are proud of the strong voice and recognition we have achieved at a public and political level.


"It means we can represent the voices of women and children in Scotland suffering domestic abuse, highlight the seriousness of the issue, and work even more effectively to bring about its end.”


1976 also saw the opening of the first Rape Crisis centre in Glasgow – followed by a second in Edinburgh two years later.


"Originally relying on voluntary contributions and occasional small grants, funding improved from 1983 onwards but remained patchy and short term. Between 1994 and 1996 the constitution for a new Scottish Rape Crisis Network was drafted and approved by the Inland Revenue. This subsequently became Rape Crisis Scotland (formerly the Scottish Rape Crisis Network) with a national office funded by the Scottish Government.


A Rape Crisis Scotland spokeswoman said: “We have come a long way from the hand-to-mouth existence of those dedicated women who gave so much of themselves and their lives to support others who had experienced the devastating impact of sexual violence.


“The extraordinary work undertaken by generations of volunteers and workers has led to a very changed landscape today where, though much still needs to change, a good deal of positive progress has been made.”


Tickets can be purchased from the Ceilidh Collective website or at the New Leaf Co-op.