ONE Edinburgh woman has revealed how she was able to get through an ordeal involving her abusive ex-partner with the help of a programme which supports women at risk of being harmed.
She spoke out as the achievements of 175 people who have gained a new qualification to support women under threat of serious harm by their partners are being celebrated today.
Those who have taken the independent domestic abuse advocacy (IDAA) course will attend an event hosted by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.
Advocates work for agencies such as Women’s Aid groups to support and guide them through the justice system.
Speaking under an assumed name, Lucy, aged in her fifties, was put in touch with the scheme through the Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court Support Service - part of Edinburgh Women’s Aid.
She said her partner started harassing her after she ended the abusive relationship.
“Eventually, I called my doctor and he told me to go to the police. He was arrested and appeared in court, pleaded guilty and was given a three-year non-harassment order,” she said.
“It has been a complete nightmare but my IDAA has been wonderful. I don’t think I would have got through it without them.
“They helped me understand what was happening in the legal system because I just wasn’t in any emotional state to fully understand things myself. I was just crying all the time and trying to understand why my ex was doing all this to me.
“She still phones me now to check I am okay. They are just wonderful people that I didn’t know existed. It was like having a really reliable, well-informed friend who was there for me all the time.”
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson is among those who will address graduates of the Scottish Government-funded training scheme which was launched two years ago.
Mr Matheson said: “Domestic abuse is an appalling crime and I am delighted to be able to meet the graduates of this joint training course who are now well-equipped to support women at risk of serious harm from partners.”
Today’s event marks the first day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence - an United Nations-led campaign.