• 16 Days of Activism

    16 Days of Activism

    Each year between the 25th November and 10th December communities across the world take part in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. The campaign calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

    In Scotland, this year’s 16 Days of Activism wants us to ‘Imagine a Scotland without Gender Based Violence (GBV)’ with awareness raising, campaigning and learning events taking place online and throughout the country.

    Our partnership is overseen by Inspiring Scotland, who manage the Scottish Government’s Delivering Equally Safe fund which supports 121 projects throughout Scotland to deliver frontline support, prevention and awareness raising activity focused on tackling GBV. 

    Equally Safe is a Scottish Government and COSLA strategy with a vision of a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse and the attitudes that help perpetuate it. 

    With funding from Delivering Equally Safe, activity delivered between October 2021 and March 2023, has:

    • Reached 32,358 adults and 11,189 children and young people with frontline support
    • Provided awareness raising and education sessions to 93,401 people

    16 Days of Activism isn’t just for those delivering services. Violence against women and girls is a part of life in Scotland, just like it is everywhere in the world. The 16 days of Activism is an opportunity to find out more about what organisations are doing to prevent and tackle GBV and share information so we are all better equipped to eradicate it in Scotland. 

    Inspiring Scotland have pulled together information on the events that Delivering Equally Safe funded organisations are hosting this year. Events range from open days, to speeches, training and online sessions. Topics include tackling economic abuse, how the media shapes attitudes, young people’s activism, and the relationship between disability and GBV. 

    You can access a list of events here.

  • 16 Days of Activism Free Activity Event

    16 Days of Activism Free Activity Event

    Join us for an afternoon of free dance and fitness at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall on Saturday 25 November from 1.30pm to 4.30pm to celebrate the start of 16 Days of Activism against violence of women and girls.

  • Domestic Abuse in Older People

    Domestic Abuse in Older People

    If someone controls you psychologically, financially, emotionally, sexually or physically, this is NOT ok. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, of any age.

    If you, or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, the following organisations can help.

    Orkney is leading the way in Scotland on raising awareness of domestic abuse in older people thanks to a local campaign being delivered by Women’s Aid Orkney with support from Orkney Health and Care (OHAC).

    The campaign, called “The Time Is Now, It’s Not Too Late”, focuses on people aged over 60 who have experienced or are experiencing abuse.

    Women’s Aid Orkney will be delivering three training days with OHAC social care staff in the county at the end of September to enable staff to better recognise the signs of abuse, what to do, along with the effects this can have on men, women and families. Posters will be shared more widely in areas likely to be frequented by older folk.

    Domestic Abuse and Neglect in Older People

    Like younger people, older people may be subjected to domestic abuse that is physical, sexual, emotional, or economic. Perpetrators will use a range of behaviors to exert power and control. But there are also some important age-related differences that specifically affect victim-survivors as they age.

    Older people are just as likely to be abused by an adult child, grandchild, or carer, as they are by a spouse or partner. As everyone ages, their risk increases of becoming a victim of abuse—women, men, and LGBT+ people alike.

    Many older people subjected to abuse have a health condition or disability, which may mean they rely on their abuser for care and support.

    Examples of Types of Abuse or Neglect:

    • Financial Abuse
    • Physical Abuse
    • Psychological Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse
    • Discriminatory Abuse
    • Modern Slavery
    • Organisational Abuse
    • Neglect and Acts of Omission
    • Domestic Abuse
    • Self-neglect

    Jayne Smith-Saville, co-ordinator of the Orkney Partnership for Action Against Gender Based Violence and Abuse, recognised there was a gap in awareness and approached Women’s Aid Orkney and OHAC.

    She said: “They agreed this is an area lacking in awareness and were keen to be involved so we are pooling our resources and taking a partnership approach.

    “Unfortunately, Orkney is not immune to domestic abuse and that includes among older people. Women’s Aid Orkney supported 14 women aged over 60 in 2022-23 – and research states that domestic abuse in older people is very under reported.”

    Jayne says the older generation are less likely to report abuse for a number of reasons.

    “Older women, in particular, have feelings of shame that may be attached to being a respected or well-known couple in the community. There is still feelings around the stigma of being abused and many have fears of reprisal from friends, family members, neighbours, work colleagues. Many are not aware that it is now against the law and they look upon marriage as being for life. They are afraid to live alone or are financially reliant; perhaps being cared for by an abusive partner or being their partner’s carer. These are just some of the reasons older people stay silent.

    “This awareness campaign and training given by Women’s Aid Orkney will educate professionals and social care staff who work with older people to recognise the subtle signs that an older person may be subjected to domestic abuse, and empower them to confidently reach in and ask appropriate, sensitive questions.

    “This will also enlighten staff and management to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse among staff members and work colleagues.”

    OHAC Chief Officer, Stephen Brown, said: “OHAC works hard to safeguard the most vulnerable in Orkney, and we are committed to ensuring staff receive the most up-to-date training to assist in identifying abuse.

    “When approached by Jayne, we quickly recognised the benefit of such a campaign and feel it’s training time well spent by our staff.”

    Margaret’s Story

    Leaving her home to move in with her daughter and her family was supposed to be the best thing for Margaret. Her son-in-law Tom had always made her a little uneasy, but she adored her daughter and grandchildren.

    Sadly, Margaret’s move has only confirmed that her instincts about her son-in-law had been right. Tom is always good to her when her daughter is around, but as soon as others are out of earshot, Tom’s verbal abuse and intimidation begin.

    He calls her stupid. He mocks the way she moves or talks. He tells her that she disgusts him and that she had better watch her step or he’ll send her to a home. He threatens that if Margaret breathes a word of what he says to her daughter, he will deny it, take all her money and leave her to the wolves.

    Margaret’s daughter is puzzled as to why her mother has become so withdrawn. She refuses to leave her room except for meals. And even then she hardly eats and rarely speaks. Her daughter wonders why her mother would shut down like this in such a loving environment but assumes that she’s just adjusting and will come around. Her husband agrees completely.

    For more information or resources, please contact

  • Free Personal Safety Course for Women!

    Free Personal Safety Course for Women!

    1st and 2nd May 2024
    Supper Room, Kirkwall Town Hall
    9:30 AM To 4:00 PM

    Multi-award winning, empowerment-focussed, trauma-informed Personal Safety training, including practical self-defence!

    The theory side covers the Law regarding Self Defence, Reasonable Use of Force, Warning Signs and Danger Signs (so you can recognise when an attacker is about to attack before it happens), Voice Control, Defensive Stance, the T-Zone (so you know where to strike an attacker effectively), Improvised Weapons, and various scenarios such as what to do if you’re being followed.

    The practical self-defence side covers breakaway techniques from a wrist grab and clothing grab, escape from a stranglehold, how to defend against a frontal attacker and a back attack, and defence against a ground attack (both a physical assault and, if required, a sexual assault).

    Although the day flies by, some groups need a shorter course. To accommodate this, we have to miss out on elements of our training. A 3-hour course will be mainly theory with a small amount of self-defence, but the best course would be a 6-hour session. This will give plenty of time for questions and advice, as well as all the self-defence techniques and all the theory side.

    For more information:
    To book the course, please email:

  • What if women designed Orkney? (Hybrid Event)

    What if women designed Orkney? (Hybrid Event)

    How can places be greener, wilder, more inclusive, liveable and poetic?

    Join author May East for a conversation on the findings of her book What if Women Designed the City?

    The book draws from in-depth walking interviews with 274 women from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, and offers 33 leverage points on how planners, practitioners, and communities could intervene in planning systems so that cities, towns and rural areas can work better for women and girls, ultimately benefiting us all.

    Co-hosted by THAW Orkney and H&I Climate hub, this hybrid conversation is part of a series of events deepening the discussion of gender sensitive place making in Scotland taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Orkney culminating in an international conference with the participation of expert guest speakers from leading cities such as Vienna, Umea, Barcelona and Lyon in the autumn.

    Get tickets!

    This is a hybrid event.


    St Magnus Centre
    Palace Road
    KW15 1PA


    Thu, 30 May 2024 12:30 – 14:00

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