Progress welcomed on improved services for women in need of support

Partners working together to improve the experiences of women who are affected by abuse are making good progress, according to a report discussed by Fife councillors today (Thursday).

Fife Council is working with the Fife Housing Partnership and the Fife Violence Against Women Partnership to help women who have experienced domestic and / or sexual abuse, and make sure they have the housing support they need.

Cllr Judy Hamilton chairs the Women’s Health Improvement Research (WHIR) Project and has welcomed the progress of a number of working groups who have been tasked with improving staff training, exploring legal issues and improving housing options.

She commented: “While this project is led by women, we recognise that domestic abuse services should not be, and are not exclusively, for women.

"However research shows us that it’s generally women and children who leave the family home following domestic abuse. Women need to have better options, better support and advice when it comes to improving their situation, and it’s great to see the work we’re doing making a difference.”

Over the past two years the WHIR project has focussed on increasing options open to women, with the emphasis on keeping vulnerable women and children safe. Where possible, the project supports women to stay in the family home, and has worked with Fife Law Centre to provide independent legal advice, and explore different ways of getting the perpetrator of the abuse to leave the home.

Staff training has also been a key focus of the project with staff from across the Fife Housing Partnership encouraged to take part in the Fife Violence Against Women training programme to increase their knowledge of the issue.

Cllr Hamilton added: “We are continuing to work with a group of amazing women who have experienced domestic abuse and are helping guide the work we are doing. Any changes proposed are discussed with this group to make sure they are as effective as they can be in improving the service we provide.

“Funding for the WHIR project is available for another year and we hope to build on the successful work we’ve already achieved and continue to improve these vital services.”

Further information can be found on www.fifehousingregister.org.uk/options. There is also a range of support available for anyone living with abuse. You can get help from:

  • Fife Council Housing Service 03451 550033
  • Fife Women’s Aid (women only) 0808 802 5555
  • Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline (men and women) 0800 027 1234
  • Rape Crisis Helpline 0808 801 0302
  • Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre 01592 642336