Renfrewshire Council

Women and Children First

Women and Children First can provide a range of support services to women and children who have experienced rape, sexual assault, physical abuse, harassment and/or child sexual abuse, whether in the home or in the wider community.

Women and Children First is a multi-agency support service for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.

We often use the term Gender Based Violence when talking about our services.

Gender Based Violence: - 

  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family (including children and young people), within the general community or in institutions, including domestic abuse, rape, and incest;
  • Sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation in any public or private space, including work;
  • Commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, lap dancing, stripping, pornography and trafficking;
  • Child sexual abuse, including familial sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and online abuse; and
  • So called 'honour based' violence, including dowry related violence, female genital mutilation, forced and child marriages, and 'honour' crimes.

Our Mission is to work in partnership with victims, survivors, and the wider community to end violence against women and children and support those affected by it.

We are an inclusive service and provide support to all women and children and non-binary people who feel comfortable in a woman only space, regardless of age, race, disability, religion, disability, LGBT or transgender identity.

Women and Children First is a trauma-informed service.  This means that we recognise the complex impact trauma has on anyone living with abuse or surviving abuse.

We believe that victims and survivors should be empowered to use their individuals' strengths to decide and action how they want to work with us and what tasks we can support them with and what tasks they can do for themself.

We believe in giving survivors a choice and options about what their support might look like.

We believe we need to work in collaboration with other services to make sure victims get the support they need to help them recover.

We believe their safety is very important. That means both their physical and emotional safety.

Women and Children First Services and Supports

Support and Advocacy

A small team of highly skilled Support and Advocacy workers can help identify risks to safety that impact on family functioning. They will support victims of domestic or sexual abuse by advocating on their behalf with other workers, agencies or departments. They might also provide support to attend meetings or court proceedings. They will help with practical support around the impact of the abuse but will focus their work on building confidence and empowering women to manage tasks for themselves.

Reconnections - Cedar Group Work

Cedar is a unique way of working with children, young people and their mothers who have experienced domestic abuse.

The Cedar programme takes place over 12 sessions with groups for children, young people and their mothers running in parallel. The groups provide an opportunity to explore the experiences, understanding and feelings with an emphasis on providing fun and creative activities that keep children engaged and interacting with each other. It is about creating a safe place for children and their mothers to help each other to find the best strategies to deal with their experiences and rebuild their lives. A key aim of the programme is to help mothers to support their children in their recovery.

In preparation for group we carry out a family centred assessment which focuses on the impact of living with domestic abuse. Our staff will assist you to address these by providing a range of supports including safety planning and well-being.

Children referred to the Cedar programme must be aged 4-16 years old. It is essential the perpetrator is no longer living with mother and child/ children. and: -

  • Children must have a memory of the abuse (hurting in the home)
  • They want to come
  • They are safe and in recovery

Early Years Domestic Abuse Recovery (EYDAR) is a group programme special developed for women with young children (0 to 5 years).  RIt similarly works on finding the best strategies to help new mums to deal with their experience of living with abuse and rebuild their lives.

Reconnections - Children 1st

CHILDREN 1st provides a therapeutic service to children and young people (aged between 5 and 18 year old) and their families who have been affected by domestic and/or sexual abuse.

Depending on the needs and preferences of the child or young person, our workers use a variety of different therapeutic methods including art, play, counselling skills and psycho-educative materials to develop a plan of therapeutic support. We provide opportunity for children to develop trusting relationships within safe boundaries, to express themselves and to work towards making sense of their experiences.

Our work can help families to understand how best to support their children and help protect them from further abuse.

Making a referral to Women and Children First

We try to respond to referrals as quick as we can. We will respond the same or next day if there is imminent risk of further harm.

Women can refer themselves or a support worker can make the referral on their behalf.

Always remember that you can call the police if there has been a recent incident or threat of harm.