The training was delivered in preparation for new government legislation - the Domestic Abuse Scotland Act 2018 – which was implemented on 1 April 2019.
The Act took the landmark step to recognise, for the first time, that domestic abuse can be experienced as a pattern of abuse rather than a one-off incident and now criminalises emotional and psychological abuse, often referred to as coercive control.
In Scotland one in five women experience domestic abuse and victims experience, on average, 32 occasions of violence before they seek help. In addition, of the 59,501 incidents of Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 9,526 incidents involved a male victim.
Stirling and District Women’s Aid delivered 14 training sessions in Stirling 2018/19, which were attended by a total of 223 Council staff.
The training aims to have all statutory services and professions better informed about domestic abuse and equip officers to be more able to support those experiencing it.
Since the first delivery of these training events:
- 96% of participants have rated the training very good or excellent
- 95% of professionals report being better aware of the dynamics of abuse and what supports are on offer and how to signpost/refer
- 98% of professionals report being more confident working with vulnerable women with experiences of domestic abuse
An awareness raising session was also delivered to 80 University of Stirling students and staff.
After the success of these initial training events, further multi-agency training will be carried out in 2019/20 again to focus on the implementation and local responsibilities of the Domestic Abuse (2018) Act.
Convenor of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “It is shocking that around one in five women in Scotland will experience some form of domestic abuse at some time in their life. Police Scotland figures reveal that more than 20% of all operational police time is spent responding to domestic incidents.
“Given that situation we are proud to be raising awareness and educating our staff and partners on domestic abuse.
“The training sessions carried out by the Stirling and District Women’s Aid are very important and I hope the future training events planned help to continue a better understanding of the experiences and complex needs of everyone affected by domestic abuse.”
Vice Convenor, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Stirling Council is committed to supporting people affected by domestic abuse. This training programme highlights that domestic abuse has far reaching effects beyond physical violence and puts emphasis on the complexity of emotional and psychological abuse.
“Domestic abuse is regrettably widespread across Scotland and it’s so important that we take every opportunity to raise awareness of this subject.
“These training sessions have been hugely successful in making Council services and partners better informed and more able to support those experiencing domestic abuse."