HC Deb 02 February 1998 vol 305 cc491-2W
Mr. Godman

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he proposes to deal with domestic violence,; what funds he is making available to (a) local authority and (b) voluntary association projects; and if he will make a statement. [25832]

Mr. McLeish

[holding answer 30 January 1998]: The Government recognise that domestic violence is a serious problem which threatens many people, mainly women and children. It is unacceptable in itself and also impacts on many areas of the lives of victims and on their freedom to live their lives without fear and in the way they wish. The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Women's Issues has designated the need to tackle domestic violence as one of 3 major issues it is committed to addressing. We are taking a number of steps to combat the problem in Scotland.

Almost £240,000 has been provided this financial year to Scottish Women's Aid under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.

The Urban Programme supports around 5 projects addressing the needs of women and children suffering from domestic violence and other forms of abuse. These projects will receive funding amounting to around £400,000 in 1998–99.

The previous Government commissioned a research study from Dr. Sheila Henderson of Reid-Howie Associates to inform future policy on domestic violence and addressing 3 main questions. What services are currently available in Scotland to women (and their children) who suffer violence at the hands of their partner? What gaps exist in the provision of services in Scotland, whether in the type, quantity or geographic location of services and how might these gaps be filled? What do service providers consider is the most appropriate role for The Scottish Office and others in the effort to combat domestic violence?

We have received a report from Dr. Henderson and will consider very carefully its wide ranging recommendations in partnership with service providers.

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