Our Directors

Our Directors

Heather Williams (Chair)

Heather Williams is the former Manager of Ross-Shire Women’s Aid; she sits on the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership and chairs the Safety Group which has been responsible for the roll out of MARAC across the Highlands. Heather previously worked as HR Worker at Scottish Women’s Aid supporting network groups and the national office. She has also worked as a parliamentary researcher in the Scottish Parliament.
Heather is also Treasurer for Preston Lodge Rugby Football Club.

Joanna McLaughlin (Treasurer)

Jo joined the Board of Directors of Scottish Women’s Aid in October 2013. Her current role is with the Improvement Service where she is responsible for coordinating the National Violence Against Women Network and supporting the local multi-agency Violence Against Women Partnerships, to help ensure they have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to inform and implement Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women. Prior to joining the Improvement Service, Jo lead on The Robertson Trust's policy and evidence exchange work and was responsible for using the learning from the charitable projects that the Trust funded to help inform policy and practice at a local and national level. Jo has a particular interest in promoting better evidence exchange across the Third and Public Sector to help improve services and support for vulnerable groups.

Heather Russell

Heather Russell is the CEO of local affiliated group Women's Aid South Lanarkshire & East Renfrewshire, and joined Scottish Women's Aid's Board of Directors in 2015.
Heather oversaw the expansion of her South Lanarkshire group to include East Renfrewshire (WASLER) in 2013 and now works between both local authorities attending strategic gender based violence forums respectively, and represents WASLER at national forums.
From her work in the Women’s Aid and the 3rd sector Heather has developed an interest in feminist governance and socially structured bias. This complements her personal and professional interest in human rights, in which she recently received a PG qualification in Human Rights Law.

Judy Ferguson

Judy joined the board of Scottish Women’s Aid in October 2013, having previously held the position as chair of Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire.  Judy is currently employed by East Ayrshire Women’s Aid where she is responsible for the design and delivery of the East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership’s multi agency domestic abuse training and development programme alongside the delivery of training, information and resources to the wider community.  As a committed and passionate feminist, Judy brings with her a wealth of experience in working to address structural and societal inequalities gained from over 20 years employment within the voluntary sector. Initially working as a welfare and advocacy worker within the homelessness sector Judy’s career as a senior manager within one of Scotland’s largest social enterprises  included managing a range of projects supporting marginalised groups, requiring creative, effective and meaningful partnership working with colleagues across disability, health, education, criminal justice, third sector and statutory agencies. In her spare time Judy enjoys getting away from it all in her campervan, and when she can’t do that cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Nicola Gilchrist

Nicola is an advocate at the Faculty of Advocates with experience in all aspects of family and child law.  Her practice at the Bar has seen her appear at all levels in the Scottish Courts and she has a particular interest in the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence and domestic abuse and the new legislation pertaining to forced marriage.  Nicola joined the board of directors of Scottish Women's Aid in 2013.  She is a committed and passionate feminist and joined the board in a bid to make a practical and real difference to the lives of women, children and young people in Scotland.   Nicola enjoys reading, theatre, dance, cooking for friends and getting on her soapbox. Nicola's favourite quote is "There's nothing a man can do, that I can't do better and in heels," by Ginger Rogers.

Sharon Aitchison

Sharon Aitchison is the CEO of Monklands Women’s Aid, which covers the Airdrie and Coatbridge areas in North Lanarkshire. Sharon has had a varied career in the third and statutory sectors, and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Board. She is dedicated to advocating for and supporting the rights and equality of women against discrimination and oppression, and to challenging the structural and societal injustices women experience.  Sharon is committed to supporting frontline services and to advocating at a strategic level in the promotion of Women’s Aid specialist services. She completed her MA Hons Degree in Social Work in 2010 and has subsequently worked in the field of criminal justice. Her career has been varied with one mainstay: supporting disadvantaged women from all walks of life to achieve justice and equality. 
Sharon has worked for Monklands Women’s Aid since 2001 in various roles, including training worker, outreach worker, development manager and now CEO. Sharon is committed to nurturing, developing and maintaining effective partnership relationships with partner agencies with a shared commitment to end violence against women.

Nearest SWA Group

Find your nearest Women's Aid group

Current Activities

Non-consensual sharing of intimate media (NCSIM) is a form of abuse

Read the results of our survey on NCSIM (otherwise known as "revenge porn")



Facts & Figures

On one day in Scotland in 2014, 383 women and 302 children and young people were living in a Women's Aid refuge (SWA 2014)


Sign up

Keep up to date with what's happening

Sign up today

Get Involved

There are many ways you can get involved whether you give your time, skills or money. Together, we can make a difference.


Social Feed

View Feed