Assist To Open New Court Support For Domestic Abuse Victims In Dumfries

ASSIST is a Glasgow-based Advocacy, Support, Safety, Information service helping women and men and children who are victims of domestic abuse who are dealing with court cases. The service has received a funding boost and is expanding into Dumfries and Galloway.

The ASSIST service currently operates in several local authority areas in the West of Scotland, East Kilbride, Paisley, Dumbarton and Kilmarnock, they receive around 5000 referrals a year.

ASSIST, established in 2004, is a Specialist Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy and
Support Service focussed on reducing the risk to and improving the safety of victims of
domestic abuse. ASSIST’s aims are to ensure that all victims of domestic abuse, women, children and men,are safe, informed and supported throughout their involvement with the criminal justice system.

ASSIST provides both an individual and institutional advocacy service, thereby ensuring thatall victims of domestic abuse benefit from the service whether or not they are an ASSIST client. Partnership working and the creation of a consistent, coordinated community response is at the heart of the ethos of ASSIST. SafeLives Leading Lights accreditation was awarded in 2012.

ASSIST provides a service across most of the West Command of Police Scotland and is
linked to all Sheriff Courts including the Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts at Glasgow and
Ayr. Support is provided to male victims only at Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court.

ASSIST stands for –
 Advocacy
An independent voice for victims, including children and young people. Help
when other agencies are involved or to pass on information.
 Support
After an incident has been reported to the Police and throughout the court
 Safety
Continuous risk assessment and safety planning
 Information
About the court process, civil protection, domestic abuse issues, housing and
other support services
 Services Together
A coordinated, strategic and operational community response
ASSIST operates on a three tier basis covering crisis support and information, support and
advocacy throughout the court process, and short term post court support to facilitate the
victim’s access to other services. The ASSIST team’s early intervention and proactive workingpractices ensures that victims receive a high quality service tailored to their individual needs and circumstances that remains focussed on their risk and safety

Councillor Christina Cannon, Glasgow’s convener for education, communities and equalities, said: “It’s hard to overstate how difficult it can be for victims to cope alone with the threat of violence and abuse. As well as the physical damage, abuse can take a huge emotional toll on victims and their children. Add to this a complex criminal justice system and the pressure of maintaining their safety and that of their children and it can be an overwhelming ordeal.
“ASSIST provides emotional and practical support which can help people reduce the risk of further abuse, recover and regain control of their lives. Testimony from service users demonstrates how much they value the support they receive and I’m absolutely delighted that the service will soon be able to help even more people with this expansion into Dumfries and Galloway.”
Hamish McGhie, Dumfries & Galloway’s independent chair PPC, said: “I am delighted that ASSIST is going to extend their area of work to Dumfries and Galloway. Advocacy provided by ASSIST to victims of domestic abuse is recognised as being of a very high standard and we welcome this opportunity to offer additional support to victims of domestic abuse within the justice system. ASSIST is in the process of recruiting staff to establish this service in Dumfries and Galloway with a view to providing the service early in 2023.”

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