Beira [pronounced By-ra] is the Scottish goddess of winter. She rules over the dark part of the year, handing over to her sister, Bride, when summer comes again. Beira represents female wisdom, power, and regeneration. Hers is a strength that endures during the difficult times, but her myth contains the promise that they will not last forever.
Beira’s Place is a new sexual violence support project based in Edinburgh but covering the whole Lothian region. We deliver a trauma informed service to women survivors of sexual abuse from aged 16 years, no matter when that sexual violence or abuse has happened in their lives. We support women who have experienced:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Intimate partner sexual violence
- Sexual exploitation
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Online sexual abuse, image based sexual abuse, or ‘revenge porn’
- Sexual abuse in prostitution
- Sexual coercion
Beira’s Place has been set up in response to demand from female survivors for a women-only service, as one is currently not available in the area.
Beira’s Place is a women only service. It has been set up by women, for women. This means that if you contact us, the first person you speak to will be a woman, any support you receive will be from a woman and you can be guaranteed that when you visit our centre everyone in the building will be women.
Violence against women and girls is an issue that crosses all cultures, classes, and religions. These are gendered crimes that are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and disproportionately experienced by women. It is for this reason that we are committed to providing a service that is open to women only. There are a number of services in Lothian, and indeed across Scotland, that provide support to male survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. However, there are few, if any, that are strictly women only. The national helplines (domestic abuse and sexual abuse) are open to female and male survivors but there is no women only domestic abuse or sexual abuse helpline in Scotland.
Workers at Beira’s Place and the Board of Directors all have a long history of working with women. Any woman seeking support is assured that all decisions about the running of the centre have been made by women, including those with a history of delivering direct services and listening to the voices of women.
Support staff have many years’ experience working with women’s organisations and come from a background in sexual violence support, domestic abuse support, addiction support, supporting women and girls who self-harm, mental health support and supporting women abused in prostitution and sexual exploitation.
We know that most women who are survivors of sexual violence, abuse, and exploitation overwhelmingly want to be supported in a women only environment    There is a great deal of evidence finding that trauma informed services have better outcomes  It’s this evidence that drives the work we do.
 why women only FINAL.qxd (wrc.org.uk)
 July-2016-Women-Only-Services-and-their-Benefits.pdf (womensregionalconsortiumni.org.uk)
 The importance of women only spaces and services for women and girls who’ve been subjected to men’s violence | Karen Ingala Smith
 Microsoft Word – Single sex spaces roundtable report (scottishwomensconvention.org)
 Trauma-Informed Care Outcome Study – Travis W. Hales, Susan A. Green, Suzanne Bissonette, Alyssa Warden, Josal Diebold, Samantha P. Koury, Thomas H. Nochajski, 2019 (sagepub.com)
 Optimising outcomes for complex trauma survivors: assessing the motivators, barriers and enablers for implementing trauma informed practice within a multidisciplinary health setting | BMC Health Services Research | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
Beira’s Place is committed to challenging misogynistic and patriarchal power structures that, through the abuse of, and threatened abuse of women and girls, prevent many from reaching their full potential. We recognise that responsibility for any act of violence against women and girls lies with the perpetrator: it can never be excused, justified, or explained away and there is no context within which it is acceptable or valid.
Beira’s Place recognises that effective sexual violence services must be independent, needs led, and provide responsive, woman centred services so that they are free from the pressure of current political agendas. We are committed to ensuring that our service is free, confidential, and accessible to survivors who may need it.
Beira’s Place believes that services supporting survivors of male violence, abuse, and exploitation are most effective when they are women led, trauma informed and delivered by women for women. We recognise that as well as being women, factors such as race, disability, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, religious belief, and experience of previous trauma, can affect women’s experience of sexual violence.
Beira’s Place understands that from the early days of women led support services for survivors of male violence, single sex services have been at the forefront of developing innovative ways of working with survivors through their healing journey. We are committed to continuing this work in providing evidence-based responses to the needs of sexual violence survivors and building innovation to respond to the stated needs of survivors.
Beira’s Place challenges the myths surrounding sexual violence against women by promoting the understanding of off all forms of sexual violence as acts of power and control and are preventable.
Beira’s Place understands that all forms of commercial sexual exploitation constitute abuse of women and girls and support the Nordic Model approach which “decriminalises all those who are prostituted, provides support services to help them exit, and makes buying people for sex a criminal offence, in order to reduce the demand that drives sex trafficking.”
 Nordic Model Now – What is the Nordic Model? – Nordic Model Now! (May 2022)