LAID out on the table are segments of glass, carefully embellished with daisies.

Each piece represents a woman’s a story of survival and of bravery. For Sadie and Janey, simply holding their stained glass represents a victory – over fear, adversity and the perpetrators of domestic abuse who tried, and failed, to control them.

The segments will be welded together to create a bigger piece, a triptych representing women’s experience of the Scottish criminal justice system – both good and bad.

Individual parts coming together to form a powerful whole is a neat analogy for the work being done at the Glass Walls scheme by women from The Daisy Project, a Castlemilk-based advocacy project for women who have experienced domestic abuse.

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Glass Walls was the brainchild of Dr Emma Forbes, a procurator fiscal depute who took three years out of her day job to complete a PhD at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) exploring victims’ experiences of the court process and accessing justice.

That work is now being turned into a piece of art that, once it has sat in residency at the Scottish Parliament, will go on tour with the hope of making visible the hidden aspects of domestic abuse.

Emma said: “Scotland has an international reputation for excellence in its treatment of domestic abuse; people come from all over the world to see how we do it.

“But from the women’s perspective, they are still telling me about barriers to receiving justice: not being believed, not having a voice in the process, waiting for court being deeply traumatic – so I wanted to look at why these two stories do not marry up, why is there still a disconnect?

“I took three years out of my day job to try to understand these findings.”

In response to the findings of her PhD thesis, Emma wanted to both give back to the women who helped her by sharing their stories, and find a way to give the women a voice.

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Glass Walls was the result – a collaborative community art project to create a stained glass art installation. Women from the Daisy Project were given workshops in stained glass making at WASPS studios, led by Charles Provan – an artist and also Emma’s dad.

These workshops proved transformative for the women taking part, who have been given pseudonyms here to protect their identities.

Janey was married to the man she calls “my perpetrator” for more than 20 years before sustaining such brutal injuries during an attack that her daughter called the police. His control over Janey had been so complete that she said it took six months before she even removed his dressing gown from the bathroom door, in terror that he would find out.

Janey, who now lives with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, had such a complete terror of knives she needed six months of graded exposure work with a counsellor before having knives in her home, making the cutting of glass a real triumph for her.

“I needed that work to just be able to have a set of sharp knives in the kitchen to cook with,” she said. “I used this tiny little blunt knife for everything – at my daughters’ birthdays I’d be up to my elbows in fondant trying to cut through the cake with a wee tiny knife.

“And then I was cutting glass with knives – it was very freeing.”

Domestic abuse blighted not only Janey’s life but that of her children, both of whom needed counselling to deal with the impact of their father’s abuse. He pleaded guilty to the abuse but was awarded contact with the children, which Janey found incredibly stressful to facilitate.

She had turned to the Daisy Project for support but still became very unwell.

Janey said: “I got a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis while at court, I developed pneumonia and sepsis, I was very emaciated and unwell. I needed 14 months off work sick and went under the care of the mental health team.

“But while having C-PTSD; paying my mortgage; carrying on working; raising two children; going back to study; making a success of it all.

“All those years I was told I was crap, useless – we’ve managed to do absolutely fine on our own.”

The trauma of the court process and then facilitating contact between children and their mother’s abuser is a common theme, one shared by Sadie and Diana.

Sadie’s case went to court four times before it was finally heard. She was signposted to the Daisy Project by her daughter’s counsellor but attended with some reluctance. Six years later she is still with the project, now helping other women.

Glass Walls has also been transformative for her as Sadie had a phobia of glass since falling through a glass door. “I never dealt with my issue with glass until Charlie,” she said.

“ My first words to him were ‘I can’t do this’. I don’t have glass in my house. Charlie kept saying ‘It’s fine’. As it went on and on, cutting the glass was the hardest part.

“I’d be sitting with my shoulders as my earrings. But as time went on I got better. We met Charlie two weeks ago and I said to him ‘You were the light of my life coming’.

“I also had everybody’s support and that’s what we do. If it’s not the glass project, it’s something personal. We’ll text each other, we’ll pick the phone up and call.”

Diana has also had life changing support from the Daisy Project and from the new friends she has made. Diana, mother of two girls, had the added stress of trying to bring her children home to Glasgow as her family were living overseas. As with Janey’s ex-husband, Diana’s ex-husband threatened suicide when she left, causing deep emotional trauma for his daughters.

Like the other women, Diana says her ex-husband used the court system to continue his abuse, leaving her with constant police visits for unwarranted complaints.

“He would make a police complaint that I lock the children in the house.

“Yes, at night when we’re in bed, I lock the front door. But the police have to check these out because there’s children involved – and my children are traumatised by police at the door.”

As well as taking part in Glass Walls, the women have worked on an information leaflet about the court system with information they felt was sorely lacking as they went through the process. For Janey and Sadie, the Daisy Project has been life saving.

“I can say from the bottom of my heart that if it wasn’t for the Daisy I wouldn’t be sitting here, because I would have killed myself,” Sadie said. “The Daisy Project kept me in the light.”

“I would have died of trauma,” Janey adds.

Their hopes for the justice system – including better training for sheriffs and judges – will form part of the art work, brightly coloured 1.5m tall glass panels on light boxes with calligraphy alongside drawings to use the women’s voices to tell their stories. It will be made by Brian Waugh, an award-winning artist.

Emma said: “ Before we could read or write we put stories on churches in glass, and that’s how we shared stories.

“Before we had art funds to pay for it, art would be paid for by whole communities – I’d like to involve the community in creating this art work.

“We want to highlight how much has already been done by our justice system but also how much still needs to be done.

“Women’s aid has only been working in Scotland for 40 years; that’s a relatively short period of time. The glass will show the sweep of progress in understanding domestic abuse but alongside that will run the women’s stories.

“Domestic abuse is a dark issue, so I wanted to create something beautiful, dignified and hopeful in response.”

While the workshops have been supported by grants from the Robertson Trust, Big Lottery Fund, Corra Foundation and St James’s Place Partnership, Emma now needs to raise money to ensure the glass panels can be created.

*See the Glass Walls website for more information and click on the Crowdfunder website to donate