Domestic violence rehabilitation programme to be expanded across Scotland
Domestic abuse - Image credit: Laura Dodsworth
An initiative to help tackle domestic abuse is to be expanded across Scotland, after the Scottish Government announced an increase in funding.
The Scottish Government is to offer local authorities a share of £2.8m to roll out the ‘Caledonian System’ within their areas.
The Caledonian System programme is a two-year specialist alternative to prison or a high-tariff community sentences for men who have been convicted of domestic abuse.
It works with offenders to address their behaviour as well as supporting partners and children who have been victims of the abuse.
It is currently delivered through hubs in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Dumfries and Galloway and North Ayrshire.
An evaluation of the rehabilitation programme published in November 2016 found it was rated highly by participants, staff and female partners.
Evidence from that report also indicated that men who completed the programme posed a lower risk to partners, children and others by the end of the programme.
Commenting on the decision to expand the scheme, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Levels of domestic abuse remain at unacceptably high levels in Scotland.
“We know that the official statistics still do not paint the whole picture, as victims are often too afraid to report abuse.
“We also know domestic abuse disproportionately affects women, with men as the primary perpetrators.
“Put simply, attitudes need to change.
“The Caledonian System has been running in parts of Scotland and the evidence indicates that men who completed the programme posed a lower risk to partners, children and others by the end of the programme.
“Women also reported that they felt safer.
“The funding I am announcing today will further strengthen our push to eradicate this scourge on society.
“Domestic abuse offenders need to understand the harm they cause and what they can do to change their behaviour.”
Linda Rodgers, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Women's Aid, said: “It is crucial that we have a range of services across Scotland for those affected by domestic abuse and that these services include interventions to support perpetrators to change their behaviour.
“The Caledonian Programme is a safe and robust perpetrator programme developed in Scotland for the Scottish context.
“I am absolutely delighted that the programme will now be operating and enhancing the safety of women and children across Scotland.”
The overall funding to local authorities for the men’s programme is currently around £1.3m a year, with approximately £1.1m distributed to local authorities and SACRO to deliver women’s and children’s services.
According to the most recent figures, more than 450 men are engaged with the men’s programme, with over 1,200 having participated since 2011.
1,230 have been women offered access to the women’s service, with over 720 currently receiving support, and 1,040 children are known to the children’s service.
If at any point the programme is breached, the case is returned to court and another sentence may be imposed.