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Protecting children from abuse

Published: 8 Aug 2017 00:01

New report shows gaps in support

Support services for children affected by domestic abuse will benefit from an additional £200,000 funding, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson confirmed today (Tuesday).

ASSIST will use the funding to recruit additional advocacy staff and dedicated children and young people workers.

The new investment is one of the steps being taken to improve advocacy services across the country as a new report identifies a number of gaps and recommends further analysis and research to better support victims.

Mr Matheson said:

“We are absolutely committed to improving the availability of advocacy services for victims of domestic abuse and recognise that children are often deeply affected by abuse at home and may require separate support. This is true if they are the direct victim of the abuse or are witness to it and it is vital that we build up our ability to support all those who suffer due to abuse.

“ASSIST have been working with children and young people and are helping us understand what tailored support can help people recover and rebuild after going through this type of trauma. This extra funding will help them continue to expand this work.

“We are taking action to better support survivors of abuse and the report on advocacy services published today gives us useful recommendations to move further. Some of these we are already working towards, such as giving third sector support groups greater financial security with rolling funding, but we cannot be complacent.”

Mhairi McGowan, Head of ASSIST & Domestic Abuse Services, said: “This additional funding is very welcome indeed and will allow us to expand the services we offer to children and young people who are so often deeply affected by domestic abuse.

“Young victims of domestic abuse face particular problems and can find the aftermath difficult to navigate. Being able to provide additional and focussed support will, I hope, help to make a difference and ensure they receive the support they need.”

The National Scoping report on advocacy services for victims of violence against women and girls was commissioned by the Scottish Government. The research found a perceived lack of advocacy services for children and young people in their own right.

 

Background

ASSIST is a specialist domestic abuse advocacy and support service focused on reducing risk and improving the safety of all victims of domestic abuse. ASSIST provides a service to women and men within most of the West Command of Police Scotland – the legacy ‘Strathclyde Police Force’ area. It’s linked to all the Sheriff Courts in this area, including the Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts at Glasgow and Ayr.

ASSIST has been supported by the £20 million Violence Against Women and Girls Justice Fund, receiving £1 million for each year 2015-16 to 2017-18. A further £1.03 million was provided by Scottish Government Equalities Unit in 2016/17. 

The additional funding announced today, will increase the front line service delivery to both adults and children by

    • Increasing advocacy capacity to allow a more flexible service to clients and adapt to the provisions of the new Criminal Justice Act
    • Increasing the capacity of the Children and Young People’s service to offer a service to victims aged 14 – 18
    • Increasing the support available to children of high risk victims, to ensure early intervention.