Improving access to Advice Services whilst addressing domestic/financial abuse
The Money Advice Outcomes Team planned an event which brought a diverse mix of key stakeholders together to talk about domestic abuse and the link with debt and financial and economic abuse.
The event was a learning event to share knowledge as well as allow for some focused discussions to identifying earlier interventions which may improve access to advice services in Scotland.
The event provided an opportunity to learn from UK academic research on economic abuse and hear from a range of wider initiatives from national speakers across health, women's aid and government organisations.
The event took place at Big Lottery premises, Glasgow on 29 November 2017 and was mainly attended by people working across senior management and sector policy and engagement and co-ordinator roles including third sector, community planning representatives across Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Services and local and central government.
The event presented a great opportunity to work in collaboration with Improvement Service colleagues from the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls team especially following the National Violence Against Women Network Conference 2017.
Participants got to learn from the wider impacts of 'economic abuse' and other national initiatives and explore how the learning could be used to drive further improvements in practice across multiple organisations and ultimately improve access to advice services for people experiencing domestic abuse.
A range of funders have funded projects with a focus on domestic abuse including Big Lottery, Comic Relief and Women's Fund, as well as the UK Money Advice Service, of which various evaluations have been carried out.
In April 2013 the Money Advice Service (MAS) partnered with the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to fund the delivery of debt advice programme in Scotland, Making Advice Work, which had three streams of work. Stream 3 of this programme was a thematic stream to support the delivery of 16 pilot projects that tested new ways of working with particularly marginalised groups including people with disabilities, people experiencing domestic abuse and people with additional specific needs.
All projects aimed to improve the financial circumstances and resilience of very specific groups of service users based on a need identified through pre-existing service delivery. The reaching marginalised groups evaluation report is available online. The participants involved with the domestic abuse and advice projects were invited to take part in this stakeholder event.
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill Stage 3 passed through Scottish Parliament on 1 February 2018. The Act now brings in rules of criminal proceedings for an offence when a person is engaged in a course of behaviour which is abusive of the person's partner or ex-partner.
Examples of coercive and controlling behaviour include isolating a partner from their friends and relatives or controlling their finances. Money advisers will regularly identify when this sort of behaviour has often been part of a person's life resulting in them being left with debts owed through no fault of their own which can take years to resolve and have severe consequences.
Download the presentations from the day below.
Sandra Sankey, Improvement Service
Madeleine Gillan, Improvement Service
Jo Ozan, Scottish Women's Aid
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Research Fellow within the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Metropolitan University and Director, Surviving Economic Abuse
Katie Cosgrove, NHS Scotland
John Pollock, Trading Standards Scotland, Cole
Participants were asked to consider 4 key topic areas in the group discussions and how they could apply the knowledge and skills from the event to their own working practice as well as how they could improve collaboration.
Key topic areas
Early intervention approaches
- To deliver a webinar - Supporting Survivors of Financial Abuse - to share wider knowledge and good practice on this subject and learning from the academic research on economic abuse to help reach a wider audience
- Continue to explore areas of collaboration with the Violence Against Women and Girls colleagues at the IS
- Engage with key stakeholders to discuss actions and feedback which may help influence future decisions across the sector for investment and collaboration.
- Contribute to a final report on the outcomes of 'addressing barriers and challenges to accessing advice services in Scotland'