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NHS offers domestic abuse training

Health workers in Scotland, including midwives and health visitors, are to be trained in how to spot victims of domestic abuse, it has been confirmed.

Over the next 18 months, more than 5,000 people working in the health sector across the country will receive the NHS training.

Health boards in Scotland will be supported by a specialist NHS domestic abuse team, and the training will highlight best practice methods in the case of abuse.

The move is designed to help Scotland become the "first country in the UK" to have the NHS help identify domestic abuse victims and deal with the issue, a government spokesman said.

Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "Domestic abuse can have a profound impact on someone's health including physical injuries, anxiety, depression and sadly we know it is one of the biggest reasons for suicide.

"Often the health service is the first, or indeed only, service that victims will use either for themselves or their children.

"The NHS, therefore, has a pivotal role in helping to combat domestic abuse. And importantly, NHS staff should feel well equipped and confident about opening the door for people to talk about domestic abuse."

Substance misuse and sexual health professionals will also receive the training.

Housing minister, Alex Neil, said: "Scotland is well recognised for leading the way on tackling domestic abuse and we need to continue to drive home the message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated.

"Most people experiencing abuse will be in contact with the health service, so it is vital that there is a co-ordinated and consistent national approach to offering support to victims.

"This will help ensure victims are met with a listening ear, have the confidence to tell someone what is happening and get the help and support they need."

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NHS Scotland

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"This is excellent news. It is such a common problem and it will be invaluable to know how to deal with this and to know of resources available to help" - Lorna Marshall, Glasgow