Caledonian System

The Caledonian System is an integrated approach to address men's domestic abuse and to improve the lives of women, children and men. It does this by working with men aged over 16 convicted of domestic abuse. Working with men in isolation is potentially dangerous as it may raise the risk of harm to women partners. For example, women may continue the relationship when they might otherwise have ended it. The Caledonian model therefore includes:

  • The Men's Service - this involves a programme of work which will take at least two years. It includes individual, group and post group work. The work uses techniques to encourage men to recognise their abuse and take responsibility for themselves and their relationship with their ex/partners and children.
  • The Women's Service - provides safety planning, information, advice and emotional support to female partners and ex-partners. Women's Workers also work with other services e.g. social work and the police, so that they can better support the woman and her family.
  • Women whose partners are assessed as unsuitable for the intervention will also be offered a limited service which focuses on safety planning and referrals to alternative services.
  • The Children's Service - addresses the needs of the children and liaises with other services (e.g. Women's Aid, social work) to ensure children are receiving the appropriate help and their voices are heard.

The whole system is based on a risk and needs assessment, and a risk management approach designed to deal with possible harm to women and children. The man's risk of future domestic abuse is the focus of the men's programme and supervision; the women's and children's physical safety and psychological well-being is the focus of the related services.


East Lothian's Justice Social Work Team were selected as finalists in the ‘Excellence in Justice Services’ category at the Scottish Social Services Awards 2022, for their exemplary execution of The Caledonian System in East Lothian.  
Read more about their award nomination:  Award Nomination for East Lothian Justice Social Work Team | East Lothian Council

View their nomination video below or on YouTube: East Lothian Justice Social Work Caledonian System - YouTube