The Outrage Annual Violence against women conference in Paisley hosted the launch of Renfrewshire Reconnection on Tuesday 27th November 2012. Individuals and groups from across the statutory and voluntary sector within Renfrewshire were represented. With Reconnection as the theme, the conference began with a welcome from the patron of Renfrewshire Women’s Association, BAFTA award winning actress Kate Dickie.
The conference used a variety of visual art, theatre and musical mediums to provide a platform for sharing and exploring experiences of domestic abuse. In addition to a number of guest speakers, music was provided by 16 year old Jenna from the Elite and the Beechwood Womens’ Group provided a short dramatic piece that considered domestic abuse, isolation and reconnection.
Louise Moore (Women and Children First Project Coordinator) introduced the Reconnection Project as the driving force behind the replication of the CEDAR recovery model within Renfrewshire. CEDAR will form an integral part of the development of group-based support services for women and children affected by domestic abuse. Heather Coady (Scottish Women’s Aid) provided an update on CEDAR within Scotland recognising the success of a number of local areas in accessing Big Lottery Funding to develop CEDAR. Linda Finn (Sutton Project) provided an insightful evaluation of the community based programme in London 10 years on and gave yet more hope that such a programme can have equal success in the Scottish Context.
The afternoon began with the laying of a white ribbon commemorative wreath. This provided a poignant moment to remember those women and children who experience domestic abuse and have lost their lives as a result. In addition the wreath provides a place of reflection for people within Renfrewshire and sends out a message of hope for the future. Mairead Tagg from South East Women’s Aid spoke on assessing, attachment and attunement and risk in domestic abuse.
She highlighted the significant trauma which women who have survived domestic abuse experience. Mairead particularly focused upon celebrating the strength and courage of women who in the first instance cope with ongoing abuse and those who manage to leave. The conference ended the day with a number of workshops reflecting aspects of the CEDAR programme, including reconnection and exploration of feelings, and introduced practitioners to the how CEDAR works with children and mothers who have experienced domestic abuse.