Community / Women’s Aid keen to hear from those involved in its early days

SHETLAND Women’s Aid is looking to hear from anyone involved in the early days of the organisation as it marks its 40th anniversary.

The domestic abuse charity, launched in March 1983, was entirely grassroots and led by volunteers when it began.

This reflected many women’s groups and refuges formed around the UK in the 1970s and 80s.

Women up and down the country were responding to a national gap in support, giving up their free time and resources to ensure that women and children subjected to domestic abuse had a safe place to go to for support.

Shetland Women’s Aid is looking to gather stories from this time to ensure its history is recorded, and the women at the roots of the organisation are properly honoured.

The charity said for many of those involved in getting Shetland Women’s Aid off the ground, there was an element of personal and professional risk as society had a lack of understanding of the true scale of domestic abuse within the isles.


The first birthday event of the year was due to take place on International Women’s Day (8 March) but this was postponed due to weather and will be rescheduled for later in the year.

The hope is that some of the founding members of Shetland Women’s Aid will be present at this event, and at the other celebrations throughout the year, to share their stories of setting up the organisation.

Prevention education coordinator Ashlea Tulloch is taking a lead on gathering these stories and ensuring the four decades of service is celebrated throughout the year.

“It is so important to us that we reflect on our history this year,” she said

“Over 40 years we have provided support to hundreds of women, children and young people subjected to domestic abuse in Shetland, countless lives have been changed for the better, and this is thanks to those who were bold and passionate enough to start Shetland Women’s Aid back in the early 80s. 

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“These women set up a life-changing service in the face of adversity, in their spare time, and without a lot of support.

“I really want to capture the spirit of those early days, and hear about their motivations and hopes for the future.

“What were the most prominent issues they faced? What were the triumphs and success stories?

“Society’s attitudes towards gender-based violence has changed so much in 40 years, and our service has really grown, and I would love to hear what our founding women feel about things today.

“Together, we will share the story of Shetland Women’s Aid in a way that feels fitting for everyone and guided by those involved – perhaps a written interview, short film, or panel later this year.


“Reaching 40 years of our service is such a huge milestone, and though it’s obviously devastating that we are needed at all, 40 years of supporting people subjected to domestic abuse is something we should all feel very proud of.”

Anyone who has been involved in the organisation, as a volunteer or worker, and would like to contribute to capturing the history of Shetland Women’s Aid is asked to email office@shetlandwa.org or call 01595 692070.

Anyone affected by domestic abuse and would like some support, or who is worried about someone they know, they can get in touch with Shetland Women’s Aid. In an emergency people can call 999.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.