Domestic abuse advocacy (Idaa) training, Scotland

ASSIST, Scottish Women's Aid and SafeLives are working in partnership to deliver a professional development award (PDA) in domestic abuse advocacy for practitioners working in Scotland.

Our domestic abuse advocacy (Idaa) training is designed to equip managers or practitioners in domestic abuse services with the knowledge and skills to offer a consistent, safe and effective response to high risk victims of domestic abuse.

About the course

Our domestic abuse advocacy (Idaa) training is led by Mhairi McGowan with co-delivery by ASSIST and Scottish Woman's Aid, along with contributions by specialist guest speakers.

Through these expert speakers and relevant topics, this course aims to help you:

  • Feel equipped to increase the safety of victims of domestic abuse
  • Increase your confidence levels through group work
  • Improve your career prospects with a professional development award on completion
  • Share experience and best practice with other Scottish domestic abuse practitioners in a learning environment

The professional development award (PDA) for Scotland has been tailored to meet the needs of a Scottish audience and validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

In all the years I have worked in this field this is by far the best training I have ever been on!

This training is delivered online via Zoom, across four different blocks with a total of 12 training days (plus a 1.5 hour assessment and resource session before day 1).
Each training day takes place on a Wednesday (except for Block 4, Day 3 which is on a Thursday) and runs from 9.30am – 4:30pm. The cost per learner is £1,652.

Training Schedule =

Block 1:

  • Weds 6th March (10am - 11:30am) This 1.5 hour session will be seperate to the normal training sessions, covering important assessment and resource information. 
  • Weds 13th March (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 20th March (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 27th March (9:30am-4:30pm)

Block 2:

  • Weds 17th April (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 24th April (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 1st May (9:30am-4:30pm)

Block 3:

  • Weds 15th May (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 22nd May (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 29th May (9:30am-4:30pm)

Block 4:

  • Weds 12th June (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Weds 19th June (9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Thurs 20th June (9:30am-4:30pm) *The final day is on a Thursday, not the following Wednesday as normal. 

Please note, you will need to attend all 12 training days in full (as well as the introductory assessment and resource session on Weds 6th March), in order to receive accreditation and will need to participate throughout.

Each block has an adjoining worksheet assessment (four in total) that takes between 6 – 14 hours each to complete, dependant on ability. You have 4 weeks after the end of each block to submit your first attempts and have three attempts in which to pass.

If you cannot make the above dates but are interested in a future course, please submit your name and email here. We will be back in touch once we have further dates - likely for Autumn 2024.

Please note, spaces are not first come, first serve and applications will be judged on a case by case basis. Please only apply for yourself and not on behalf of somebody else. When completing your application form, please ensure that you answer every question in full.


£1,652 (includes registration fees with SQA).

From Autumn 2023 the cost of the training will increase by £100 per learner, taking the total (including SQA fee) from £1552 to £1652. This is the first increase we have ever made to the Idaa course since the funding ended, it is a step we have delayed as long as possible however we need to ensure the course runs on a full cost recovery model into the future. We have tried to keep the increase as minimal as possible for services, and the overall cost remains competitive for a high quality, 12-day accredited course. We hope this small increase won’t affect the accessibility of our training.


Course content

Block 1:

  • Context and skills of Idaa role
  • Pro-social modelling, active listening, stages of change and motivational interviewing
  • Domestic abuse and health
  • Housing options

Block 2:

  • SafeLives Dash and safety planning
  • Marac and multi-agency risk management
  • Case management from referral to closure

Block 3:

  • Criminal justice – input from Police Scotland and COPFS
  • Civil law
  • LGBT+ clients
  • Black, Asian, and racially minoritised clients

Block 4:

  • Children and domestic abuse
  • Adult support and protection sexual abuse
  • Male clients and perpetrator screening
  • Substance use and domestic abuse
  • Vicarious Trauma



The course is specifically tailored to those practicing within Scotland. The broad range of topics covered on this course means it is suitable for experienced practitioners and those who are new to the role. This includes those who are:

  • Currently working as an independent domestic abuse advocate or domestic abuse practitioner
  • About to start work as an independent domestic abuse advocate or domestic abuse practitioner
  • Managers of a domestic abuse service with a caseload

If you are providing support to victims in a voluntary capacity, this course is unlikely to be suitable for you. If you have any doubts about whether you are eligible for the training, please get in touch with our training team.


IDAA Block 5 - Domestic Abuse Court Advocacy (DACA)

We are currently accepting expressions of interest for the SQA-accredited Domestic Abuse Court Advocacy training.

The new training block will launch in Spring 2024 and is designed for Domestic Abuse Court Advocacy (DACA) workers and service managers. 

In the first instance, priority will be given to individuals who have completed the Idaa qualification and who are working in domestic abuse court advocacy roles, and to services who are seeking to be accredited via the DACA Accreditation programme.

If you are interested in applying for the course please submit your name and email address here and we will be in touch with further details when the course opens.


We welcome learners of all backgrounds and abilities. We encourage you to share with us any details on accessibility and diversity needs so we can ensure the right support is in place. You can also contact us if you have any queries.


Contact us

For queries about eligibility, pricing or any other questions, call our training team on 0117 403 3224 and ask for Hannah Birch, or email scotland@safelives.org.uk. More information is also available via the below: