£2.5m boost in war on abuse

VICTIMS being terrorised in their homes are to receive more support after a domestic abuse service was given a £2.5million cash boost.

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Assist (Advocacy, Support, Safety, Information and Services Together) was today extended outside Glasgow across the Strathclyde Police force area.

The project, which provides specialist support to victims of domestic domestic abuse, was previously only available in Glasgow.

A total of 32 additional staff have been taken on to fill the support roles across Strathclyde, which includes the city and surrounding areas, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire and Ayrshire.

They will be located in the force's divisional domestic abuse teams.

The service, based at Eastgate in London Road, Glasgow, was set up in 2004 as a link to the city's domestic abuse court.

Staff work closely with other agencies and the Domestic Abuse Taskforce to provide support to victims – the majority of which are women – by identifying how much of a risk the perpetrator is and advising them on their options.

Mhairi McGowan, head of service at Assist, said: "Domestic abuse ruins lives and affects every community.

"Nobody should have to live in fear of their partner or ex-partner. Speaking to someone who really understands what they are going through can make a huge difference.

"We can help victims identify the risks they face and the steps needed to increase their safety."

Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton, of Strathclyde Police, said the additional funding would help the people who need it most.

He added: "Alongside our dedicated domestic abuse officers in the taskforce, we have found a way of working that ensures victims' needs are met, providing them with the support and courage to go through the justice process."

The funding has come from the Strathclyde Police Authority and the Scottish Government.

As reported in the Evening Times this year, it is connected to a Scottish Government promise to give £34.5m in total to tackle violence against women over the next three years.

rachel.loxton@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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