- Child Protection - The Safe and Together Model
The Safe and Together™ Model is an internationally recognised suite of tools and interventions designed to help child protection teams and partner agencies become domestic abuse-informed. Please click this link to see a short video about the model.
Continuously refined, based on years of implementation across the United States and other countries, it can help improve competencies and cross-system collaboration where domestic abuse and child abuse meet.
Its name comes from the concept that children are best served when we can work toward keeping them safe and together with the non-offending parent (the adult domestic abuse survivor). It provides a framework for partnering with domestic abuse survivors and intervening with domestic abuse perpetrators to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children.
We are one of 14 local authority areas in Scotland at various stages of implementing the Safe and Together model. Around 20 people from a variety of professional backgrounds in Dundee, including social work, health and police, have undertaken the intensive four day core training and are now available to deliver one, two or three hour overview sessions on the model for teams across the city.
The approach is specifically referenced in Equally Safe, our national strategy to eradicate violence against women and girls; backed locally by Chief Officers; and referenced in our Violence against Women Strategy, our City Plan, Dundee H&SCP Strategic Plan, our Child Protection multi-agency instructions and Child Protection Committee Business Plan
See Safe and Together Institute Website for more information
MARAC (multi agency risk assessment conference) meetings work out how to help people who are at high risk of murder or serious harm. In 2017, over 65,000 adult survivors of domestic abuse were discussed at Maracs across the UK, and over 80,000 children were helped.
Independent advocates (Idaas), the police, children's social services, health and other relevant agencies sit around the same table. They share relevant, proportionate information about the survivor, their family including any children, and the perpetrator. The meeting is confidential.
Together, Marac participants write an action plan for each survivor of domestic abuse. Everyone present commits to taking the agreed actions. The Idva advocates for the survivor, holds the other agencies to account on their behalf, and ensures that afterwards they understand what is being agreed.
Every area in England and Wales has a MARAC, and they are spreading throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland too.
In Dundee the MARAC runs every fortnight.
SafeLives is the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, they pioneered the use of the Dash risk checklist which all police forces and many other agencies now use to see how much danger a victim is in. They also led on the development of MARAC meetings across the country. Link to Safelives website
See MARAC Representatives Roles document
- Risk Assessment:
Where a practitioner has serious concerns about a client’s situation they should complete the Safe lives DASH risk assessment checklist with their client or refer to MIA to assist with this if required to do so. If 14 or more boxes have been ticked “yes” or there is significant cause for concern (may include repeat victim cases) the referring agency should, where appropriate, inform a client about the MARAC process and obtain consent to information being shared with other agencies present. However if consent is not obtained it can still be referred to MARAC. A discussion should be had with advocacy manager and/or MARAC Coordinator re the case to ensure quality assurance.
This link takes you to the risk checklist
It is primarily intended for professionals both specialist domestic abuse workers and other professionals working for mainstream services. It aims to provide a uniform understanding of risk across professions.
How does it work?
The simple series of questions makes it easy to work out the risk someone is facing, and what they might need to become safe and well. A high score means the victim is at high risk of serious harm and needs urgent help. These victims should get help from an advocate (MIA), and all the relevant local agencies should come together at a MARAC meeting to make a plan to make them safe. The risk checklist is available in several languages, as is guidance on how to use the tool. The risk assessment tool cannot replace vital professional judgement. It cannot replace the need for training. It is guidance. For more information see www.safelives.org.uk
Contact details for MARAC in Dundee:
MARAC email – email@example.com
Multi-agency Independent Advocacy (MIA) contact information – 01382 596 100
MARAC co-ordinator – 01382 596637
- Legal issues/the LAW
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 came into force in April 2019. The law now recognises psychological harm as well as physical harm as an offence. Please see the following link for more information - https://safer.scot/ and click here for a summary of the how the new law works
- Disclosure scheme
The scheme aims to prevent domestic abuse by empowering both men and women with the right to ask about the background of their partner, potential partner or someone who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive.
The scheme aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship, and provides further help and support to assist the potential victim when making that informed choice.
Throughout the UK, thousands of people suffer abuse at the hands of their partner. Research indicates a strong link between animal abuse and domestic abuse, with people who are violent to their partner often threatening or harming a pet in order to cause intimidation. Families fleeing domestic abuse are usually unable to take their pets with them into a refuge so in many cases they are reluctant to leave their home until they know there is somewhere safe for their pets. Dogs Trust, alongside other pets fostering services in the UK, offers a solution.
The Dogs Trust Freedom Project has helped over 1600 pets, and supported over 1200 people to flee domestic abuse knowing that their pets were safe and cared for. The service offers fostering placements for pets of those fleeing domestic abuse; it is free, confidential and all costs while the pet is in foster care are covered. For more information on the project please follow this link
The service has now been extended into Scotland and they are currently able to take referrals from people accessing refuge in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Lothians, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Stirling, Argyll and Bute, Fife, Perth, Dundee, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. Please see the attached referral policy to find out more about accessing the service.
For further information please contact Ashley Szafranek at Ashley.Szafranek@dogstrust.org.uk.
Rape and Sexual Assault
- SARN - The Sexual Assault Referral Network (SARN)
SARN - The Sexual Assault Referral Network (SARN) in Tayside has extended its opening hours to support people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
The SARN offers a self-referral service to people who have been raped or sexually assaulted but do not want to report it to the Police. To provide support, the network has extended its opening hours and has now set up a dedicated phone-line which is available every day until midnight.
The dedicated phone line - 0300 365 2001 - allows people to directly contact a Rape Crisis Helpline worker who will offer initial support and contact to the Forensic and Custody Nurses in Tayside. Callers are offered support, access to health services, such as emergency contraception and screening for sexually transmitted infections. They are also offered the option of the collection and storage of forensic evidence, should they decide to report to the police at a later time. NHS Tayside, Womens Rape And Sexual Assault Centre (WRASAC) Dundee & Angus, Rape and Sexual Assault Centre Perth & Kinross, Rape Crisis Scotland (RASAC) and Police Scotland have collaborated to increase services and raise the profile and awareness of the SARN self-referral service.
- Useful Links
Information and support for anyone experiencing sexual violence and harassment in the workplace
- Dundee Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy
To be updated
- Dundee Trafficking and Exploitation Procedure
- Useful links
Human trafficking awareness-raising leaflets and posters in English, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Vietnamese
Guidance for health workers - Advice how to recognise and help victims of human trafficking and exploitation
If you have any concerns regarding alleged human trafficking or criminal activity in your area, use the following details:
Email the Police Scotland National Human Trafficking Unit: SCDNationalHumanTraffickingUnit@scotland.pnn.police.uk
Commercial Sexual Exploitation
- Dundee Commercial Sexual Exploitation Guidance
- Useful links
The Encompass Network -has a range of resources for working with women involved in commercial sexual exploitation
Zero Tolerance, the Women's Support Project and the media co-op have developed new resources to challenge commercial sexual exploitation in Scotland. The Money and Power resources comprise of a DVD film (7mins20sec), an awareness raising pack, supporting materials pack and a training pack.
A DVD (11mins) for young people has been developed by Women`s Support Project and Zero Tolerance, in conjunction with media co-op.
See link to WRASAC for local information
- The Law
Stalking is a crime under Scottish law and is an offence against the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 Section 39.
Stalking is generally defined as two or more behaviours directed towards a victim which cause, are intended to cause, or where the perpetrator’s behaviour is reckless as to whether it causes, the victim to suffer fear and alarm.”
‘Fear and alarm’ covers physical or psychological harm, or apprehension or fear for the safety of the perceived victim or any other person. Following/surveillance
Although each Stalking situation is unique and Stalkers may have different motivations, the tactics and techniques employed by each are often very similar:
- Following someone or someone else who is associated with that person.
- Contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means.
- Publishing material about someone without their consent.
- Monitoring someone’s phone, internet, email or other form of communication.
- Loitering in a public or private place.
- Interfering with someone’s property.
- Leaving unwanted gifts or notes for someone.
- Watching or spying on someone.
In this study the women and equalities committee heard evidence that street harassment was widespread, from being shouted at and cat-called through to sexual assaults.
They also heard it took place in a number of public spaces - on transport, in bars and clubs, through online spaces, at universities, in parks and on the street
In another study it was found that:
- 81% of girls and young women aged 11-21 reported that in the week prior to survey they had experienced some form of everyday sexism.
- 90% of girls and young women aged 13-21 agree that the government should make sure all schools are addressing sexual harassment and bullying in schools.
- ¾ of girls and young women say anxiety about sexual harassment negatively affects their lives – whether it’s their choice of clothing (51%), their body confidence (49%) or their freedom to go where they want to on their own (43%).
- Useful links
Honour Based Violence
- Tayside Protocols
To be updated
- Useful links
- The Law
The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act now makes it easier to prosecute so-called revenge porn.
The new offence:Covers photographs or films showing people engaged in a sexual activity which would not usually be done in public, or with their genitals, buttocks or breasts exposed or covered only with underwear.
It does not cover the sharing of other materials such as private text messages and emails which are dealt with under separate legislation
Research commissioned by Scottish Women's Aid found that more than two thirds (78%) of adults believed it should be illegal for someone to share an intimate image they have been sent.
The police recognise revenge porn as a serious form of abuse. Report someone sharing or threatening to share an intimate image without consent by calling 101 or in an emergency phone 999
- LGBT Women and Non Binary People
All specialist support services in Dundee work with LGBT women and understand the specific issues they may face.
WRASAC statement -
You can be a survivor of sexual violence regardless of your gender or the gender of the perpetrator. You are not to blame and deserve support. Local rape crisis services in Dundee understand that lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender and intersex survivors may face additional real or perceived barriers when accessing services and may have particular worries, fears or concerns. Many LGBTI survivors may be reluctant to report sexual violence because of a fear of being discriminated against. The police have a duty under the Equality Act to not discriminate against people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and if you feel that you have been discriminated against then you have the right to make a complaint. A worker at Rape Crisis can support a person through the process of reporting if they feel this would be helpful
Dundee Women's Aid statement -
When domestic abuse is happening in a lesbian or bisexual woman's relationship it may be even harder to name these behaviours as abusive and hard for people to accept that a female partner could be an abuser.
Some of the issues that may be faced by lesbian or bisexual women in an abusive relationship are:
- Experiencing abuse from a former partner. The context of this abuse may lead to behaviours such as stalking and harassment, attempts to stop a woman behaving in a certain way, attempts to restrict access to lesbian and gay spaces or efforts to stop a woman seeing her new partner.
- Threats or actual sexual violence may also be used by a former partner.
- Some lesbian and bisexual women have children and it Is important to remember that domestic abuse affects children significantly regardless of the sexuality or gender orientation of their parents. As with heterosexual women, lesbian or bisexual women can find that abuse escalates or even starts at the time of pregnancy. Lesbian and bisexual women may also experience judgemental attitudes about their parental choices and abilities. This knowledge can be used against them by abusers as part of the pattern of control.
- Using someone's sexuality to abuse them - threats to 'out' a woman, disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent to family/employers etc, criticising them for not being a' real' lesbian or bisexual woman, playing on fears that no-one will help due to sexual orientation and that agencies such as the Police are homophobic or biphobic. This can lead to a woman thinking services are not aimed at them, or would not offer an appropriate service. Dundee Women's Aid are committed to being inclusive to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.
Transgender people are at a high risk of domestic abuse, especially emotionally abusive transphobic behaviours, when they come out as trans for the first time to existing partners. A second high risk point for domestic abuse, especially emotionally abusive transphobic behaviours, occurs when a person reveals plans to undergo gender reassignment to a partner who is already aware of the person's trans identity but has been assuming that they would not transition. The negative partner reactions included a range of verbal, emotional and physical abuses. Cases that involve extreme violence have also been disclosed to the Scottish Transgender Alliance.
All these myths are based on misconceptions and prejudice ideas about family. Where someone is experiencing domestic abuse it is because one person (former or current partner) is attempting to exert power or control over them, exactly as it is in a heterosexual situation. Regardless of the gender of a partner or ex-partner, or the presence of children, it can be very difficult for any woman to leave an abusive relationship.
A recent study in Scotland showed that the most frequent form of abuse experienced by transgender women was transphobic emotional abuse. Some of the behaviours described were -
- Stopping someone from taking medication or having treatment needed to express gender identity (e.g. hormones, surgery).
- Stopping someone from being able to express your gender identity through other changes in appearance (e.g. the clothes you wear, hair, make up).
- Stopping someone from being able to express gender identity through how they describe themselves (e.g. the name and pronouns used).
- Stopping someone from telling other people about their trans background or identity.
- Threatening to tell people about someone's trans background or identity.
- Making someone feel ashamed, guilty, or wrong about their trans background or identity.
- Stopping someone from engaging with other trans people or attending transgender social groups and support groups.
- Drawing attention to, or focus on, parts of someone's body that they feel uncomfortable about.
Non Binary People:
The Dundee VAWP has identified that there is a lack of understanding about non-binary people and their needs and is making it a priority to address this.
A survey carried out by the Scottish Trans Alliance found that:
Respondents’ experiences of physical and sexual violence were significantly worse in public spaces than when accessing services. 32% had experienced physical intimidation and threats, and 35% had experienced sexual harassment because of their non-binary identity and 13% reported being sexually assaulted due to being non-binary.
The report highlights the serious and significant impact that a lack of visibility and inclusion in services has on non-binary people. This was particularly the case around non-binary people’s emotional wellbeing, with 84% feeling their gender identity wasn’t valid, 83% feeling more isolated and excluded, 76% feeling that they had lower selfesteem and 65% feeling they had poorer mental health due to the lack of representation of people like them within services. 63% also said they were less likely to access services because of this lack of visibility and inclusion, which means that non-binary people may be less likely to engage with health services, education, and other hugely important institutions due to feeling excluded from provision. This could explain why 21% felt that they had poorer physical health due to a lack of visibility and inclusion in services – they may have been unwilling to access the support they needed due to services not feeling welcoming.
In Dundee there are a number of services who support non binary people where they are experiencing domestic or sexual abuse and violence:
WRASAC - support services and advocacy services
Multi-agency Independent Advocacy Service (for high risk victims of domestic abuse) -
Tel: 01382 596100
All other mainstream support services such as housing and welfare advice services listed on this website would be able of offer support.
- Useful Links
Galop offers advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence or domestic abuse. Galop provide a National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline providing confidential support to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them.
LGBT Domestic Abuse Foundation (DAF), run by Stonewall Housing, exists to provide individuals and organisations with support to develop, implement and improve services for LGBT people who have experienced domestic abuse.
a:gender is the support network for staff in government departments/agencies who have changed or need to change permanently their perceived gender, or who identify as intersex.
Stop Domestic Abuse is a project run by LGBT Youth Scotland. It aims to support service providers who work with people who have experienced, or are currently experiencing domestic abuse.
The Beaumont Society is the largest and longest established transgender support group in the UK. The organisation supports transgendered people, their partners and families, as well as advising and training on transgender issues.
Scottish Transgender Alliance
Stonewall Scotland Working to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
LGBT Helpline Scotland
LGBT Charter of Rights
- Older women
Many of the problems facing older victims are common to all of those experiencing domestic abuse. However, older victims’ experiences are often exacerbated by social, cultural and physical factors that require a tailored response.
Please see the following links for more information -
- Women with a disability
Choice Support is a national charity, formed in 1984, supporting people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health needs. They have produced a ‘Supported Loving Toolkit’ which provides clear advice on how to support people appropriately with sensitive issues concerning sex and relationships (Adult population).
It is important that everyone is aware that women with learning disabilities, especially those who live independently, are at risk from domestic violence. This is particularly the case when they are in relationships with men who don’t have learning disabilities.
Please see links for more information -
The key things to remember are:There is nothing about having a learning disability that protects women from extreme domestic violence. The full range of mental, physical, sexual and financial abuse which is inflicted on other women, is also inflicted on women with learning disabilities. Coercive and controlling behaviour is very common.
- Women with disabilities may fear having their children taken away if they report domestic violence. This is a very real fear and evidence suggest it is not unfounded. Mothers with learning disabilities need ongoing support to keep themselves and their children safe – removing the children and leaving the woman to cope in the violent relationship on her own is rarely going to be in anyone’s interests, except the perpetrator of violence.
- Lack the knowledge about how to leave an abusive relationship, where to go, sources of support.
- Women with learning disabilities need accessible information and someone they trust to tell them directly that they do not need to put up with abuse. Advice on how to safely leave a violent relationship is essential.
- They may have a natural desire for companionship and intimacy, but lack opportunities to meet people. This can lead to women accepting advances and entering into relationships with predatory men, as they may fear it is their only chance of a relationship.
- Any increase in work, leisure and social opportunities can give women a broader outlook on life and help to decrease isolation.
- Dundee Housing Options
Victims of domestic abuse and other forms of VAW have the right to live in safety and to feel secure in their own home. They also have a right to information and advice from their local council to find out about housing options. Please see the following link for more information from Scottish Women's Aid and Information from Dundee City Council Housing Options Service
Make a Stand:
Dundee City Council is strengthening its stand against domestic violence and has signed up to the Make a Stand pledge, which has been developed by the Chartered Institute of Housing in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.
The pledge encourages housing organisations to support people experiencing domestic abuse.
Shelter can also advise on how to tackle the housing and homelessness issues connected to domestic violence and abuse: It also contains links to organisations and things such as domestic abuse helplines that can help.
In some cases a victim might not feel able to contact a specialist domestic abuse service or it may be easier to talk to an adviser at a local Citizens Advice Bureau first. This might be the case if someone is already going to speak about benefits or housing, for example. Citizens Advice Bureau advisers aren't specialists in domestic abuse but they can listen confidentially and signpost to relevant agencies. An adviser can help with housing, debt and benefits issues and will recommend seeing a lawyer about more complex housing, immigration and legal issues.
- Other housing information
Information on rights from the Chartered Institute of Housing deals specifically with those who have arrived to join a UK national or settled (with indefinite leave to remain) husband, cohabitee or civil partner, and can no longer stay in the relationship because of abuse.
The Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Shelter Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have developed this guidance .
- Local Support
Local advice can be found at:
Dundee City Council Advice Services – Welfare Rights
Tel: 01382 431188 (Adviceline Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm)
Address: Pitarlie Road, Dundee, DD4 8DB
Tel: 01382 432450
Dundee North Law Centre
Address: 101 Whitfield Dr, Dundee, Angus DD4 0DX
Tel: 01382 307230
Crisis Grants can provide a safety net in the event of a disaster or emergency. Community Care Grants can help - Apply using this link .
The CONNECT team are part of Council Advice Services (CAS) and give assistance to anyone requiring help with income maximisation, benefit form filling, benefit problems and budgeting.
- Scottish Women's Rights Centre
The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre help self-identifying women aged 16 and over affected by violence and abuse by providing free legal information and advice through our helpline, legal surgeries and ongoing casework.
Helpline 08088 010 789
Monday 2 - 5 pm
Tuesday 6 - 8 pm
Wednesday 11 am - 2 pm
Friday 10 am - 1 pm
Tuesday 11 am - 2 pm
Thursday 5 - 8 pm
*On request, they can arrange language interpreters.
The Helpline is available to any woman in Scotland who has experienced or is experiencing gender based violence and is looking for information about their rights. More specific legal advice can be provided by a solicitor at a surgery.
It is free to call the helpline from most mobile phones and landlines. On request, they can arrange language interpreters.
The helpline can be extremely busy, please keep trying to get through. Read their legal guides before calling.
They offer fortnightly surgeries in Dundee:
Book an appointment: 0138 220 7099
The Dundee surgery is located in:
Dundee Women's Aid
Top Floor, Enterprise House, 45 N Lindsay St
They can offer information on rights and on what to expect if engaged in the civil or criminal justice processes.
A trained support worker will be on hand if someone wishes to speak about the impact of their experience, how they are coping or how to access further support.
Sometimes they are also able to provide free legal representation in cases where there is unmet or complex legal need, for example where a woman cannot afford a solicitor but is not eligible for legal aid. They would always have to consider the circumstances of the particular case, and their capacity.
Professionals who support or advocate for women victims/survivors of gender based violence can also contact them through their helpline to obtain legal information.
- Other useful links
Scottish Women's Aid also have information about legal issues
The Scottish Child Law Centre is one of only a few dedicated providers of free information on matters of law concerning children and young people in Scotland. They provide services throughout the whole of Scotland.
They provide free expert legal advice and information about children’s rights and child law in Scotland through their telephone advice line and email.
They also provide a wide range of master classes and training on the law and children's rights to organisations and individuals across Scotland, and produce a range of publications on various legal issues. They also do visits to schools and young people's groups.
You can contact them for free legal advice by phone, email or post. They will return all calls received, but are not able not to reply to international phone numbers.
See publications section.
- Trauma Informed approach
Complex trauma survivors are likely to have histories that include experiences of physical and/or sexual abuse; as well as unrelenting neglect and/or protracted emotional abuse; witnessing domestic abuse. Such experiences frequently lead to a complex mix of problems including: poor physical health, substance misuse, eating disorders, relationship and self-esteem difficulties, suicidality, self-harming behaviours and contact with the criminal justice system. People impacted by trauma may also experience poor education and negative employment outcomes and therefore are more likely to be affected by poverty, chronic social problems, and early death.
Trauma-informed approaches must involve both organisational and frontline practices that recognise the complex impact trauma has on both service users and providers
An organisation is trauma informed if it can say that its culture reflects each of the values of safety, choice, trust, collaboration, empowerment in each contact, physical setting, relationship and activity & if this culture is evident in the experiences of staff.
8 principles of trauma informed approach:
1. Understanding trauma and its impact
2. Promoting safety - Establishing a safe physical, psychological and emotional environment where basic needs are met, which recognises the social, interpersonal, personal and environmental dimensions of safety and where safety measures are in place and provider responses are consistent, predictable, and respectful.
3. Supporting service user control, choice and autonomy
4. Ensuring cultural competence - A trauma-informed approach understands how cultural context influences perception of and response to traumatic events and the recovery process; respecting diversity; and uses interventions respectful of and specific to cultural backgrounds
5. Safe and healing relationships
6. Sharing power and governance
7. Recovery is possible
8. Integrating care - A trauma-informed approach maintains a holistic view of service users and their recovery process; and facilitating communication within and among service providers and systems.
Please see NHS Education Scotland Website for more information
- Person Centred Approach
The Person-Centred Approach (PCA) is an approach to human relationships. It values attitudes such as:
- Not judging others
- Trying to understand the experiences of others from their point of view
- Fully honouring the uniqueness of the individuals we meet in a genuine and heartfelt way
- Treat people with dignity, compassion, and respect.
- Provide coordinated care, support, and treatment.
- Offer personalised care, support, and treatment.
- Enable service users to recognise and develop their strengths and abilities, so they can live an independent and fulfilling life
Also, and perhaps most importantly, PCA places a high value on autonomy. That is, the right of a person to be self-governing, make their own decisions and follow their own path in life. In essence, to live according to what feels right for them.
- Gendered Approach
A gendered approach essentially recognises and responds to the fact that men and women ( and others outwith this binary) will have different experiences of the world. The will face different issues, have different prevalence rates, the reasons for the challenges they face will differ and they will be more or less likely to experience certain issues just because they are a male or a female. When discussing a gendered approach within the context of violence against women we are mainly concerned with the experiences of women and those who identify as women.
The core principles of a gendered service are:
- The values and approaches underpinning the delivery of the different service components are as important as the service delivery itself. It is the explicit value system, underpinned by understanding the reality of women’s needs and lives, which drives a gender responsive service model. It is crucial that it is acknowledged that gender makes a difference.
- The quality of relationships between women working in and using services is often what women value most. Relationships should be based on respect and time should be taken to build rapport. Keeping women informed about sharing information, sharing control and respecting boundaries, treating them as human beings and genuinely listening to them are key to building meaningful and trusting relationships
- Having an understanding of women’s lives and the complexity of the challenges they face, particularly how experiences of trauma and abuse are commonplace. Services should be trauma informed and recognise the impact of abuse in order to focus on recovery from this trauma as the primary goal. Behaviours which replicate those of an abuser should be avoided e.g. and the possibility of re-traumatisation should be considered and minimised. Services should understand the non-linear process of healing from trauma and abuse
- Working from a strengths-based empowerment model and a woman’s strengths and resilience should be emphasised over issues and problematic behaviour.
- Providing a physically and emotionally safe space, which can only be achieved in a women-only environment. Services should understand the importance of being flexible in appointments, understand the dynamics of power and control in therapeutic relationships and how women are attuned to being criticised and judged following experiences of abuse.
- Holistic provision that reflects women’s individual needs and how they are often interlinked. Where a service is operating predominantly with a single issue focus this may require conducting of assessments with specialists from other services in order to develop a support package from multiple sources. Women should be involved in this process and have choice and control over their support.
- Services should be culturally competent and support should be person centred and understand each women in the context of her own life experiences and background. Specialist support may be required for some groups such as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women or those who face multiple forms of oppression and prejudice.
The Gendered Services Project is a three year project, working in Dundee to support services to think differently about aspects of their service delivery. Where services choose to adopt a gendered approach to their service delivery, more women will be encouraged to access their services and get the support they need, when they need it. The project aims to improve the quality of service to women, increase the accessibility of services for women and to increase the capacity and ability of services to respond to women. Women with lived experience are at the centre of the project, and have already been involved in designing a self assessment tool and an animation to illustrate the barriers many women are facing today.
Please click on the link to learn more about the project.
Please see research carried out in Dundee relating to a gendered approach to services