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Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and/or violent behaviour, including sexual violence, by a partner or ex-partner.

Domestic abuse is overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. It doesn’t matter how old someone is, what race or ethnicity they are, what class they are, whether or not they are disabled, or whether they have children – anyone can be a victim of abuse.

Often when people think of domestic abuse they think of physical violence, but domestic abuse is very often so much more than that. For many women who live with domestic abuse there will be no scars, bruises or broken bones, but for some it can take their life. No one kind of abuse is more serious than any other.

Domestic abuse isn’t a one off – it usually happens again and again and the abusive partner will try different things to gain control. It usually gets worse over time, and for many women it can continue even after the relationship has ended.

Some of the different ways an abuser will try to control his partner include:

  • Making threats to hurt her or any children

  • Throwing objects at her which causes fear even if they miss

  • Calling her names and making her feel bad about herself

  • Making rules about how she does things, like what she is allowed to wear

  • Stopping her from seeing, or making it hard for her to see friends and family

  • Being jealous of the time she spends with others or doing things without him

  • Phoning or texting her all the time and/or expecting her to reply to them as soon as they have contacted her

  • Checking her phone and social media accounts

  • Hitting her

  • Putting pressure on her to have sex

  • Being nice to her, buying her gifts and making promises about what they will do together

  • Telling her she’s a bad mum and telling the children not to do what she says

Often the abuser will tell his partner that it is her fault that he is behaving this way and that she is making him act like this. This is not true. He says this to make her feel responsible and guilty so that he has more control over her.

Lots of people think that domestic abuse only means physical violence. This is a problem, because it can stop women from asking for help or support because “at least they don’t hit me”. More than anything, domestic abuse is about control.

We offer one-to-one client-centred counselling, providing a safe environment for women, children and young people to share their problems.
We offer temporary, safe accommodation for women and their children at our refuge, away from an abusive situation.
We offer clients complete confidentiality within the charity. No charity member will share information with someone outside Shetland Women's Aid without the client's permission, unless a court orders us to do so OR if there is a child or vulnerable adult concern.


Shetland Women’s Aid is the lead organisation in Shetland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. We play a vital role offering counselling, advice and support to women, young people and children, in effective responses to domestic abuse.
We are part of a network of 36 specialist local Women’s Aid groups working  towards a shared vision of a Scotland where domestic abuse is not tolerated.


Shetland Womens Aid, located in Lerwick, is a charitable organisation dedicated to helping those affected by abuse and family breakdown. With the dedication of our volunteers, staff members, and partners, we strive to improve the lives of women and children across Shetland who need help. Contact us to see what you can do to bring about positive change.


Domestic Abuse is NEVER the victim's fault.


121A St Olaf St, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0ES, UK

01595 692070

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