New way of tackling domestic abuse

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HELP for victims of domestic abuse in the Borders is set to improve to the tune of £1.23 million thanks to co-ordinated funding of the Pathway Project, developed after listening to the victims about what they most need.

Giving victims of domestic abuse a greater sense of self worth and emotional wellbeing is the longer term goal of an integrated and co-ordinated range of services. Focus will also be on providing an immediate and effective response and supporting them in a home of their choice as they recover from their experience.

Scottish Borders Council’s Safer Communities team has led the Pathway Project, working with other organisations in the Borders, and now that the funding is in place they can start to deliver the help needed to repair the lives of those who have suffered domestic abuse.

The funding is comprised of £767,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Becoming a Survivor Fund; £330,000 from the Scottish Government Violence Against Women Fund; and £130,000 from local partner agencies including NHS Borders, Scottish Borders Council, Lothian and Borders Police and the Scottish Borders Local Housing Network.

The people who have led the Pathway Project have worked hard to ensure that the voices of victims have shaped the type of services required. And positive support from partner agencies has also been instrumental in understanding the challenges of reaching victims in what are often isolated circumstances.

The project aims to deliver three services: A domestic abuse advocacy service for adults and children which will respond to high risk cases and work to ensure that the safety of victims remains a priority; a new community outreach project which will help adults and children ‘move on’ from their experiences of domestic abuse and re-settle in communities of their choice; and a new innovative group work programme called CEDAR (Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery) for mothers and children, which aims to rebuild relationships and allow both mothers and children to develop a sense of self esteem and emotional well-being.

One survivor, who was one of the victims whose voice was heard by the Safer Communities Team, said: “The combination of the three different types of services will help survivors rebuild their lives.

“Knowing that their children will not slip through the net and have the support to put their lives back together is one of the major issues for a parent.

“After the initial crisis stage the availability of long term support is very important as you may have lost your home, family or been re-located.

“In this day and age domestic abuse is not acceptable and it is imperative that services meet the need. The funding of this project will allow this to happen.”

Rob Dickson, director of environment and infrastructure at SBC, explained: “This is an important piece of news for the Borders and even more importantly, I hope it heralds a significant improvement in the lives of the many different people who will benefit from these new services.

“This large amount of new funding enables us to recruit and train the best people to join our professional team in offering three new tailored services to victims of domestic abuse. We are totally committed to doing everything we can to address domestic abuse wherever it occurs in our community.

“The successful work undertaken to secure this new funding clearly demonstrates the efforts we are making.”