SafeLives responds to Scottish government report on service provision for women and girls

8th August 2017

SafeLives, a UK-wide domestic abuse charity, welcomes a new report published today for the Scottish Government. The report clearly demonstrates the gaps in support for women and girls living with domestic abuse. The charity's Deputy CEO, Suzanne Jacob, meets Justice Secretary Michael Matheson today to discuss the report and the need for change across Scotland. 

Deputy CEO Suzanne Jacob said:

"We are pleased to be joining ASSIST in their meeting with Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Mattheson in Glasgow and his officials in Edinburgh to discuss this report and the response to domestic abuse across Scotland. We are passionate about changing the way we respond to and understand domestic abuse. We look forward to discussing our approach with the Justice Secretary and hope our expertise and experience can be of use.

"Our research in Scotland (Whole Lives and the Equally safe delivery plan response) and this report clearly highlights that support for women and girls in Scotland is patchy. If you're in a rural area, you are likely to get a poorer response than if you lived in an urban area. Some services have a greater number of fully trained staff than other services. It is too much of a postcode lottery. And many women and girls are simply not getting the support they so desperately need."

SafeLives is committed to the implementation of the risk-led model that can help overcome some of this inconsistency: it ensures a common language between professionals and an insistence on quality as well as quantity.

It is encouraging to see the positive impact of the adoption of this approach and the increased use of the risk-assessment tool, DASH. We need these tools to make the response more consistent – this is not to replace professional judgement but provide a basis for all assessing the risk and needs of every women and girl in need of support to become safe. To continue this progress, we must see more professionals benefit from Idaa training, build on links between statutory and voluntary sector organisations and increase the number of Maracs. 

It is vital that organisations can measure the impact that they are having, and that we are reaching women and girls in need as quickly as possible and as effectively as possible. It is therefore concerning that the report shows that many organisations are not confident about measuring impact. SafeLives has a robust commitment to data, and hopes to support some of these services to improving their consistency and effectiveness in being evidence-led. 

Suzanne said:

"We are also encouraged to see the Scottish Government recognise and respond to the increase in need for dedicated support for children and young people. We have done a great deal of work looking at the specific needs of young people and it is clear that the impact of domestic abuse is profound and long-term. ASSIST is a brilliant service, accredited through our Leading Lights programme, and no doubt will put this extra funding to very good use for children at the highest risk of harm."


Notes to editors


About SafeLives
We are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives.  Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually. 
No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop.  
Every year, two million people experience domestic abuse. For every person being abused, there is someone else responsible for that abuse: the perpetrator.  And all too often, children are in the home and living with the impact. 
Domestic abuse affects us all; it thrives on being hidden behind closed doors. We must make it everybody’s business.  


For interviews or more information, please contact Penny East, Head of Communications at SafeLives, on 07818 593 562 or by emailing penny.east@safelives.org.uk



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 is link to all the Sheriff Courts in this area, including the Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts at Glasgow and Ayr.


An Idaa (Idva in England and Wales) is a specialist independent domestic abuse professional who supports victims at the highest risk of murder or serious harm. Their job is to make the victim and their family as safe as possible. They stand alongside victims and make sure they get whatever help they need.


Marac stands for multi-agency risk assessment conferences. Marac meetings discuss how to help victims who are at high risk of murder or serious harm. The Idaa, police, children’s services, health and other relevant agencies all sit around the same table to talk about the victim, the family and the perpetrator, and share information. Together they write an action plan for each victim.