Council cash boosts domestic abuse team

A domestic abuse support team in the Borders has secured permanent funding from the council. 

By Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 30th July 2020, 9:13 am
Reporting of domestic violence is on the increase. Photo: Laura Dodsworth.
Reporting of domestic violence is on the increase. Photo: Laura Dodsworth.

The Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) service has been secured by a further £100,000 funding commitment by Scottish Borders Council, to add to the £100,000 the service was set to receive as part of the council’s budget.

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “The DAAS service, established in 2012, was the cornerstone of the Pathway Project designed to provide safe and effective support to domestic abuse victims and their families and a route to safety by working in partnership with specialist services such as Children1st and Border Women’s Aid.

“Over the last eight years, DAAS has grown in line with the increased demand to include specialist housing support and dedicated outreach provision. 

“In 2019 alone, the service received over 600 referrals which they went on to support by identifying risk, planning for increased safety and following a partnership approach to ensure the best outcomes for victims.

“Partnership working has been critical to the success of the project. Working closely with Police Scotland, NHS Borders, registered social landlords and other stakeholders has allowed DAAS to identify and manage some of the highest risk cases in the Borders and provide a platform for recovery for many families.

“The DAAS service has remained the first point of contact for victims, concerned others and partner agencies, and has proved that by working with partners and keeping victims at the centre of decision making, families can recover from their experiences of domestic abuse and be safer.”

Council leader Shona Haslam, who represents Tweeddale East, said: “I am so proud of the work that this council has done on preventing domestic violence and giving women the safe space in which to come forward.  

“Over the last three years we have seen reporting of domestic violence increase, which is a good thing.  

“This means that women are now feeling safer to come forward, they know that when they do the support and help that they need for themselves and their children is there and available.  

“We have ringfenced the funding for this service and it will not be reduced while I am leader of the council.  

“Anyone who is fearful or experiencing domestic abuse can contact us by email or phone on 01835 825024 or [email protected]

Tracey Logan, chief executive at SBC, said: “This service has proven to be life-changing, and in some cases lifesaving, for victims of domestic abuse in the Borders. 

“Everyone has the right to live a life free from harm and it was vital that we found a way for DAAS to be an integral part of our joint Public Protection Services so this critical support could continue. 

“As far as I am aware, we are one of very few local authorities in Scotland who have made the commitment to mainstream their domestic abuse service and it is a significant achievement that we have been able to make this possible.” 

DAAS is part of Scottish Borders Safer Communities team and consists of four qualified independent domestic abuse advocates and a service manager.