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Caithness News Bulletins March 2003

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Women's Aid Outreach Service Highland Domestic Abuse Forum

Councillors have given their full backing to the draft Wellbeing Alliance Highland Domestic Abuse Strategy aimed at tackling the problem of abuse against women in the Highlands and at developing local measures for prevention, protection and provision.

The strategy, developed by the Highland Domestic Abuse Strategy Group, is aimed at politicians, policymakers, practitioners, service providers and the community in the Highlands, all of whom have a role in eliminating domestic abuse and in supporting women or children who experience this. 

Councillors were told that its development will improve service delivery and the communication between organisations, ensure support for staff who experience domestic abuse and raise awareness.

Chairman of the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee, Councillor David Alston said:  "This is an enormously important issue as Northern Constabulary's reported cases of domestic abuse are high compared to the rest of Scotland.   The strategy has been produced through a partnership approach, involving all those agencies, both voluntary and statutory from which women might seek help or which they might come into contact with. It intends to tackle attitudes towards domestic abuse and violence against women, protect women against domestic abuse, provide support to women who experience domestic abuse and develop a co-ordinated and consistent approach by all agencies involved.

"Our aim is to significantly improve the range of services in Highland to meet the needs of women and children affected by abuse and to increase awareness of the problem through a high profile awareness campaign that drums home the message that domestic abuse is completely unacceptable. 

"The geography, distance and sparcity of the population is a challenge, as is the need for a wide range of agencies to develop the knowledge, skills and tools to support women. Over the coming year we will work towards the development of an ambitious but realistic action plan to implement the strategy."

Anyone wishing to see a copy of the Wellbeing Alliance Highland Domestic Abuse Strategy should contact Health Improvement and Community Safety Officer, Cath King on 01463 702126.

* Highland Wellbeing Alliance which is a grouping of the major agencies in the Highlands including The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, NHS Highland, Communities Scotland, Northern Constabulary and the Voluntary Sector.

* Definition of Domestic Abuse adopted by the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse and accepted in
   full by the Wellbeing Alliance Strategy group is as follows;
Domestic abuse (as gender-based abuse) can be perpetrated by partners or ex partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviour), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against their will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse (such as threats, verbal abuse, racial abuse, withholding money and other types of controlling behaviours such as isolation from family and friends.