Good Practice in Commissioning Specialist Domestic Abuse Services

SWA and COSLA have developed this guidance to support good practice in the commissioning of services for women and children affected by domestic abuse. We are committed to ensuring that provision reflects local and national commitments to domestic-abuse-competent specialist services, whilst supporting local authorities to deliver best value and the most appropriate services with the resources available.

Budget cuts to local government are a grave concern, with direct cuts impacting severely on women and children in general, and specifically on those affected by domestic abuse. Even where local authorities must make reductions in funding, they can still ensure that they make the best use of the commissioning approaches available to them. Strategic approaches to commissioning will be underpinned by an understanding of long and short terms needs of women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse. Such approaches should reflect an understanding of the risks that certain commissioning processes pose to women and children who are in need of specialist support and to the local authorities that are funding such support.

As national organisations which are aligned with national commitments to end domestic abuse, COSLA and SWA recognise the importance of supporting commissioning processes that will reduce risk for local authorities, for communities, for specialist services and, most importantly, for women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse. Though commissioners are operating in an increasingly complex environment, they have at their fingertips a range of options and tools which can enable them to put in place commissioning processes that uphold the good practice principles outlined in this guidance, and that will help to reduce risk through the provision of services that meet the needs of women, their children and the wider community.

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Staying Safe

If you need immediate help contact Women's Aid, the police domestic abuse liaison officer or your local social work office.

You can also phone Scotland's domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234

Facts & Figures

On one day in 2012, 349 women and 323 children were living in refuge (SWA 2012)

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