Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the development of a new online resource being made available to help support people experiencing, or at risk of, domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse Awareness Raising Tool (DAART) has been developed in partnership with stakeholders by the domestic abuse charity SafeLives, backed by £10,000 Scottish Government investment.
For professionals in the housing, social work, health, education and other sectors with an interest in the new Scottish domestic abuse legislation, the resource aims to improve understanding of coercive controlling behaviours, and where to direct people for further assistance.
The development of the resource forms part of a wider programme of accessible resources to improve the capacity of public service staff in Scotland to recognise and safely respond to survivors of domestic abuse.
Ms Maguire said: “The availability of the Domestic Abuse Awareness Raising Tool will equip professionals with the knowledge needed to spot patterns of coercive and emotionally abusive behaviour in accordance with the updated domestic abuse legislation in Scotland.
“Lockdown has posed significant challenges for women and children experiencing and at risk from domestic violence. With more freedoms to the wider population now being restored in addition to the development of this online resource, a stronger professional support network will be made available to keep these people safe from harm.”
Lucy McDonald from SafeLives in Scotland said:
“This tool ensures domestic abuse is everybody’s business. We know that victims and survivors will encounter different agencies, such as health and social care, and this tool will help professionals from those agencies have the skills and knowledge to provide support and empathy.
“Many families in Scotland have been living in lockdown, and will have experienced greater challenges in getting the help they so urgently need. Tools this like should help professionals understand the dynamics of abuse and how to spot controlling behaviours, meaning we can help people become safe, sooner.”
Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said:
“Frontline organisations provide an invaluable service for victims and are a great source of help. But we know that there are numerous staff in health, social care and education who regularly come into contact with people who may be experiencing, or at risk of, domestic abuse.
“This new tool will be an important resource for those professionals to help them to look out for signs of abuse, including coercive controlling behaviours, and be able to provide an effective, early intervention or signpost to support which could be lifesaving.
“The ground-breaking legislation which came into force last year created a specific new offence that includes physical abuse and forms of psychological abuse. And whilst we need this legislation, we also need to support Scotland’s workforce to develop a common understanding of domestic abuse that delivers a consistent and effective message for victims.”
The Domestic Abuse Awareness Raising Tool (DAART) builds on the DA Matters Scotland programme developed for Police Scotland in collaboration with partners ASSIST, the Caledonian System, Sacro and Scottish Borders Safer Communities team as part of the implementation of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act. It will explore:
- The definition and prevalence of domestic abuse
- The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018
- General awareness and identification of domestic abuse, including coercive control
- Safe responses and referral pathways.
The resource reflects real experiences of women, children, men, LGBT people and the BME community. It also includes case studies that show tactics perpetrators use to manipulate victims and responders, as well as the impact of domestic abuse and coercive control on the whole family.
It is intended that the resource will provide a basic introduction and can be supplemented by further specialist training.