Is domestic abuse Scotland's secret shame?

By staff writers
14 Aug 2013

It is estimated that at least one in five women suffer domestic abuse in Scotland, as do a number of men. An issue many continue to sweep under the carpet comes into the spotlight tonight.

The occasion is a public conversation entitled 'Domestic Abuse - Scotland’s Secret Shame' at St John's Church in Edinburgh (6-7.30pm, £5) as part of Just Festival.

The speakers this evening are Mridul Wadhwa (Shakti Women's Aid), Nick Smithers (Abused Men in Scotland) and Lily Greenan (the chair of Scottish Women's Aid). Facilitating the session will be Dr Eurig Scandrett from Queen Margaret University.

Questions being asked include: What can be done to decrease abusive behaviours? How can both civic and faith-related organisations provide appropriate assistance to victims? What legal procedures should be put in place so that the abused are provided with secure living conditions?

Also should the abusers be given counselling, and if so, how and in what context of punishment, exclusion and/or rehabilitation?

Domestic abuse remains a prevalent problem in Scotland, but also one that is not talked about as much as it should be and in the way that it should be.

The events is part of the festival's 'Behind Closed Doors' strand of programming, which aims to bring to light problems and challenges which too readily get pushed aside in these islands and in the wider world.

Scottish Women's Aid, Shakti Women's Aid and Abused Men in Scotland are the three sponsoring organisations of the conversation.

Shakti Women’s Aid (http://www.shaktiedinburgh.co.uk/) is an organisation based in Edinburgh, working since 1986 to offer support, advocacy and information to all black / minority ethnic women, children and young people experiencing and/or fleeing domestic abuse from partners or husbands, ex-partners and other family members.

Abused Men in Scotland (http://www.abusedmeninscotland.org/), AMIS, is a national organisation dedicated to supporting men who are experiencing, or who have experienced, abuse. Until very recently it was run entirely by volunteers.

Scottish Women's Aid (http://www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk/) is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. It plays a vital role campaigning and lobbying for effective responses to the problem.

A new training course for Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates (IDAAs) in Scotland was launched late last year.

ASSIST, CAADA and Scottish Women’s Aid have been working in partnership to deliver a Professional Development Award (PDA) in Domestic Abuse Advocacy for practitioners working in Scotland.

Funded through the Scottish Government, the course is designed for independent domestic abuse advocates, domestic abuse practitioners, and managers of domestic abuse services with a caseload.

Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road) and some 27 other venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

* Full booking details for tonight here: http://www.justjust.org/#!domestic-abuse---scotlands-secret-shame/ctmn

* For more information on Just Festival, visit http://www.justjust.org and http://justfestivalnews.blogspot.com

* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival

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