Clubbers urged to Speak Up Speak Out against domestic abuse

An Edinburgh public protection campaign against abuse will target night-clubbers on what is said to be the worst night of the year for violent behaviour.

Leaflets highlighting the multi-agency Speak Up Speak Out campaign will be handed out in clubs tomorrow (19 December). The last Friday before Christmas typically sees a rise in violence, including domestic abuse.

Speak up Speak Out was launched in August 2013 by the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Police Scotland to encourage those who are affected by abuse to come forward and find out about the wide range of support that is available to them.

The Council is also supporting Police Scotland’s annual festive domestic abuse campaign, which was launched this week.

Domestic abuse can be carried out by partners or ex-partners and can be physical, sexual, psychological or emotional.

Councillor Ricky Henderson, Convener of Health, Social Care and Housing, said: “We want to make sure that everyone has a good time this festive season and I urge revellers enjoying the last weekend before Christmas to think about their behaviour and how it can affect their loved ones.

“Nobody should have to suffer domestic abuse, whatever form it takes. We are reaching out to the people who are affected by domestic abuse, or anyone who has concerns about others who are being harmed in this way, urging them to Speak Up and Speak Out.

“Agencies will continue to work together on this ongoing campaign over the next year to make sure that families affected by abuse will be protected from harm.”

Superintendent Liz McAinsh said: "Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Police Scotland and in Edinburgh officers will continue to pursue those responsible for crimes of this nature.

"We are also committed to providing victims of domestic abuse with all the necessary assistance and support they require.”

Extensive work by the Council is ongoing to ensure that children and adults who have been affected by domestic abuse feel safe, have access to appropriate support and advice networks and feel confident in reporting issues.

Recent developments include a clear pathway from initial reporting to the police, to support for the victim, including a comprehensive risk assessment and the provision of multi-agency services. Edinburgh has also seen a welcome roll-out of the pilot domestic abuse court to the whole city.

One of the key messages of Speak Up Speak Out is that anyone can suffer from abuse, regardless of their age, gender or the colour of their skin. It can happen anywhere and be caused by friends, relatives, colleagues or strangers. By encouraging people to be open about their concerns and talk to care professionals, it is hoped that more adults and children can be protected from harm.

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