Scotland

More doctors and hairdressers trained to spot domestic abuse signs

  • 15 September 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Media captionVets are among those who will be trained to spot signs of domestic abuse

A scheme which trains hairdressers, doctors, dentists, vets and other professionals to recognise the signs of domestic violence is to be extended.

The Scottish government is providing £115,000 of additional funding for the Ask, Validate, Document and Refer (AVDR) programme.

It is run by Medics Against Violence and the Violence Reduction Unit.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said it would help stop people "suffering in silence".

The programme teaches professionals what kind of things to look out for if they suspect someone may be a victim of abuse.

It provides training in how to raise the issue with clients during check-ups and appointments and how to give them guidance about getting further support.

Avenues of support

So far, 2,000 dentists, doctors, vets, firefighters, hairdressers, dental and medical students have taken part in the project.

The hope is that the extra funding will allow it to potentially reach 100,000 professionals.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Matheson said: "Part of the idea behind this particular programme is to build on the work that has been developed by Medics Against Violence, who have been working with medical and dental students to train them on understanding the signs of domestic violence and to give them the confidence of what they should do.

"It has proven to be very effective, and we want to roll this out across the country - which will allow us to scale it up to around 100,000 different professionals being trained."

Dr Christine Goodall, who developed the scheme with the Violence Reduction Unit, based on an American model, said: "This significant Scottish government investment will enable us to establish the programme in vets practices, dental surgeries, hairdressing salons and fire stations across Scotland.

"This will undoubtedly increase the number of avenues of support open to victims of abuse. Our wish is that supporting victims of domestic abuse becomes an expectation and that victims know if they approach a doctor, dentist, nurse, social worker, vet, fire officer or hairdresser for help they will get it."

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