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Support for Women who are Victims of Domestic Abuse

 

  • Domestic Abuse (Support for Ethnic Minority Women)
    • 4. Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP): 

      To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken, and will take, to support the mental and physical health of ethnic minority women who are victims of domestic abuse. (S6O-00306)

    • The Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care (Kevin Stewart): 

      We continue to invest significant levels of funding in specialist front-line services. Through our new delivering equally safe fund, we recently confirmed allocations to 13 projects that specifically support minority ethnic women who have experienced domestic abuse and gender-based violence.

      Following our mental health and transition recovery plan, we commissioned research from the Improvement Service to help us to better understand and address the mental health and wellbeing needs of women and girls who are experiencing gender-based violence. That has included engagement with minority ethnic groups. A final report with recommendations will be published this winter.

    • Bill Kidd: 

      Anyiso is an organisation in my Anniesland constituency that supports women in those difficult circumstances. It has been reported that the domestic abuse of women in ethnic minority communities often goes unreported in Scotland due to religious or cultural reasons. What measures are in place, or can be put in place, to ensure that those women are able to access the support that the minister has outlined?

    • Kevin Stewart: 

      Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims and we continue to encourage all those who experience such crimes to report them and seek support. We remain committed to raising awareness of domestic abuse. Later this month, we will launch a campaign to reach those who are most at risk and ensure that survivors are aware of the support that continues to be available. We support Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline, which is there to support anyone who has experience of domestic abuse. The helpline is available 24/7 and offers translation services for service users who prefer to use a language other than English.

      I launched the communities mental health and wellbeing fund at Saheliya, here in Edinburgh, which seeks to promote the mental health and wellbeing of communities, with a particular focus on local at-risk groups, including ethnic minority women. The Government funds research that explores south Asian women’s end-to-end experiences of criminal justice in the context of domestic abuse, including when seeking support during and following domestic abuse. We expect that report to be published in December 2022.

    • Pauline McNeill (Glasgow) (Lab): 

      A quarter of cases in the sheriff court are domestic abuse cases. The main barrier to victims of domestic abuse taking their abusers to court is the cost of, and access to, a lawyer who specialises in domestic abuse. Has the minister had, or will he have, discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans about how access to legal aid can be improved to ensure that women can access a lawyer who specialises in domestic abuse?

    • Kevin Stewart: 

      As Ms McNeill rightly pointed out, that is more a matter for my justice colleagues. I, of course, have conversations with them regularly and will pick up with them the points that Ms McNeill made.

      I am sure that all of us in the chamber are extremely supportive of Scotland’s equally safe strategy, and that we want to make sure that women and girls who face domestic abuse have all the recourse that they can.

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