A pioneering new service aiming to address the behaviour of men convicted of domestic abuse is set to launch in Tayside at the end of the year.
The Caledonian System is an accredited programme made to help men convicted of domestic abuse and assessed as “medium” or “high” risk address their behaviour head-on.
Designed to be given as part of a court sentence, the intensive scheme will work with offenders and offer support to survivors of abuse and their children.
Men will be put through group work modules that will examine responsibility, respect, fatherhood, long-term change and personal responsibility, and include one-to-one sessions.
It is hoped that in the long-term, offenders will recognise their behaviour as abuse, take responsibility for their actions and reduce their re-offending.
While the local community justice service is to lead on rehabilitation, Action for Children and Dundee Women’s Aid have been recruited to support abuse survivors and children respectively.
Mary Miller, manager at Dundee Women’s Aid, said the invitation from justice chiefs to get involved was a “welcome” gesture.
She said: “Quite often these rehabilitation schemes are for the perpetrators and, when kids are involved, they think their behaviour is a sign of them being a good dad.
“But with the group work aspect and the additional support, this scheme aims to help them realise the impact their behaviour is having on their children and that can make them want to change.”
Angie MacDonald, operational director for children’s services at Action for Children, said: “We are proud to be involved in this integrated approach to tackling domestic abuse in Dundee.
“We have a strong record in Dundee, and across Tayside, of supporting women who have been a victim of domestic abuse.”
The Caledonian System has been trialled in Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Aberdeen and North Ayrshire in 2011.
The £666,000 grant for Dundee and Perth and Kinross is part of a £2.8 million nationwide boost to expand the scheme, owing to its early success.
Joanna Harrison from Dundee, a survivor of domestic abuse, said: “It’s a positive thing, especially for the women and children as well.
“A big part of it is getting them to admit what they have done.”
The Scottish Government has set aside the funding to launch the scheme in December for an initial 16 months.
Children and family services boss Paul Clancy and chief social work officer Jane Martin say they are confident of the programme’s funding being continued.