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Established in 2012 in its current form, Border Women's Aid is a recognised charity and is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. We are affiliated to Scottish Women’s Aid and registered with The Care Inspectorate. We work successfully in partnership with DAAS, DACS, Police Scotland, SBC Homelessness Team and services involved with the Violence Against Women Partnership (VAWP) amongst others.

However, our story really begins 50 years ago with the Women’s Liberation Movement of the early 1970s, when activists were looking for practical ways to challenge gender inequality. One answer was to provide support and safe refuge to women experiencing domestic abuse. And so, Women’s Aid was born. In 1971, Erin Pizzey pioneered the first refuge for what were then called ‘battered women’ in London.

Early trailblazers set up local Women’s Aid groups across Scotland during the 1970s and 80s, providing support and safe refuge to women affected by domestic abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid was created in 1976 to support Women’s Aid groups across Scotland, coordinate awareness raising, to put domestic abuse on the political agenda, and campaigning to change the law.

In 1982, Elaine Adamson, a social worker from Hawick, along with volunteers started Hawick Women’s Aid – a telephone helpline open one evening per week. Two years later, Elaine persuaded the Scottish Borders Council to let her rent a building as a refuge. From these small beginnings, BWA now helps women right across the Borders.

Learn more

You can find out more about our history on the Women's Library website and on Women's Aid Scotland website.


Having a safety plan in place has reduced my stress

Thanks for listening tae me, a no yous are the only ones that dae

I’m honestly starting to see things differently … it’s a valuable service you provide

Hands keeping me safe and comfortable. Helping me to find joy. Thank you so much for the last 14 months

A huge weight lifted off my shoulders when I contacted BWA