Working together to tackle domestic abuse

A major seminar on domestic abuse will be held tomorrow (1 December 2011) to discuss ways in which all agencies should work together to tackle the issue.

'Caledonian - An Integrated Approach to Domestic Abuse' will highlight the ground-breaking work of the Caledonian System, an initiative which addresses the issue of men's behaviour and helps women and children who have been affected.

The event is being chaired by Michelle Miller, Chief Social Work Officer for the City of Edinburgh Council, and the keynote speaker is Angela Constance, Scottish Minister for Children & Young People.

Delegates will hear how the Caledonian System increases the safety of women and children by working directly and intensively with men convicted of domestic violence-related offences. It aims tp reduce their re-offending, and by supporting the women and children affected by the men's behaviour. 

The programme also helps men change their behaviour through direct intervention, assessing the potential risk they pose and then managing that risk by working with other agencies, including social work, police and voluntary sector.

Councillor Paul Edie, Health and Social Care Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "The Caledonian System is an innovative project that is both reducing re-offending and helping victims. It has shown the effectiveness of different agencies coming together with a common purpose.

"Only by getting to the root cause of men's offending and preventing them committing further acts of violence can we begin to resolve the wider issue of violence within our society. "

Michelle Miller, Chief Social Work Officer, City of Edinburgh Council said: "Approaches to domestic abuse have long focused exclusively on women and children.  Their safety is of course paramount, and working directly with men, holding them to account for their offending, challenging their attitudes and tackling their behaviour are powerful strategies to keep women and children safer."

The event is taking place during the International 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence Against Women campaign which runs until 10 December.

Other speakers at the event include Sheriff Katherine Mackie discussing the domestic abuse court pilot project, Andrea Beavon (Violence Against Women Co-ordinator for the Scottish Borders) on the issues faced by women when they seek help from agencies and Vikki Kerr (City of Edinburgh Council) on the effectiveness of the Caledonian System.

The seminar is taking place at Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith, Midlothian from 9.30am until 12.30pm.

The development of the Caledonian System was led by Moira Andrew, Rory Macrae and Monica Wilson, with the support of the Scottish Government.  Moira is recently retired from the City of Edinburgh Council and Rory is seconded from the Council to the Scottish Government to work as a Caledonian professional advisor and trainer.  Monica works for the Scottish Government in a similar role.

It is the first programme of its kind to achieve accreditation from the Scottish Accreditation Panel for Offender Programmes.

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