Flagship domestic abuse project saved from axe

Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government would cover a funding gap. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government would cover a funding gap. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A FLAGSHIP domestic abuse project in Edinburgh has been saved from the axe after Nicola Sturgeon revealed the Scottish Government will meet a £147,000 funding gap.

The First Minister said the Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court Service is among the key schemes needed to tackle the issue and help Scotland achieve “full gender equality.”

The capital scheme is run by Scottish Women’s Aid and seen as a pivotal way of securing “access to justice” for vulnerable women.

But Labour’s Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP Malcolm Chisholm said it was facing a £147,000 funding gap from June and appealed for government assistance to address this during First Ministers Questions today.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am aware of the Edinburgh Domestic abuse court service, I’m aware of the shortfall of funding”.

The issue was raised with the First Minister at the Scottish Women’s Aid conference last week.

She added: “Such is the value I attach to the Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court service, which is delivering exactly the kind of services I’m speaking about and want to see expanded, I’ve written to that service confirming that the Government will meet the shortfall and allow that service to continue.”

There were 60,000 domestic abuse incidents in Scotland recorded by police last year, up one percent, but Ms Sturgeon said this unlikely to represent the full picture across the country.

“I do think the figures published and recorded will be an underestimate of the true picture,” she said.

“The Scottish Government recognises that the 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse recorded in 2012/13 are not the whole picture.

“There will be victims who don’t come forward.”

The SNP Government recently announced a consultation on tough new laws to crack down on domestic abuse by making it a specific criminal offence.

And although men can be victims, she said the Government was focussed on tackling the issue among women where the problem predominantly lies.

She added: “The vast majority of victims of domestic abuse are women and that’s what’s we’ve got to tackle and tackle effectively if we’re ever to have full gender equality in this country which is something and I think everybody wants to see.”

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