East Lothian’s Justice Social Services is securing its pathway to support men perpetrating domestic abuse and women and children affected by domestic abuse.

East Lothian’s Justice Social Services is securing its pathway to support men perpetrating domestic abuse and women and children affected by domestic abuse, by training and developing three Social Work Assistants to support the delivery of the Caledonian System across the county.

The Caledonian System is an integrated approach to addressing domestic abuse, combining a court-ordered programme for men aimed at changing their behaviour, while also providing a range of support services for women and children. 

The programme enables men to make positive changes in their approach to intimate relationships, and supports them to better their lives through positive motivation and life-long change.  The women’s service aims to increase safety, reduce risk and improve women’s emotional and mental health, offering support, safety planning and practical help.  The role of the children’s service is to ensure children are safe, as well as ensuring the rights of the child are respected and that their needs are met.[i]

Caledonian men’s groups have been operating in East Lothian for a few years.  The success of the initiative to date was recently recognised when the team were announced as finalist within the ‘Excellence in Justice Services’ category at the Scottish Social Services Awards 2022.

Understanding the benefits to those involved and success the programme has had to date, the East Lothian Justice Social Work service are now securing the sustainability of the initiative, by training and developing a further three Social Work Assistants to become group facilitators. 

The training is delivered in five parts; an initial Caledonian Screening Process; introduction to the Caledonian System, specific Case Management Training, certification to become a qualified group facilitator, then finally a course to become a Children’s Worker.   Each course segment expands the knowledge, aptitude, and ability of the Social Work Assistants to understand the criteria, circumstances, various therapy methods as well as the policies and process involved in delivering the group sessions offered to men convicted of domestic abuse, and supporting women and children.

To date Social Work Assistants Leesa Hay, Joanne Friend, and Jennifer Gentle have all successfully passed the initial Caledonian Screening segment, and will shortly progress through the rest of the Caledonian System training pathway.

Jen Gentle, Social Work Assistant comments, “I was really grateful to be offered the opportunity to get involved in the Caledonian System, where there is a real focus on supporting individuals on a personal level.  I’m looking forward to help facilitate positive behaviour change for men; ensure that women’s lives are safer, and that children are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Fiona Wilson, Chief Officer of East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership comments, “The Caledonian System supports behavioural change and puts an emphasis on information sharing to create safer relationships and thereby, safer communities.  We are delighted to be able to invest in the development of our colleagues, to deliver initiatives that help to enrich the lives of individuals within our communities, make behavioural changes, and provide support and practical advice to those who have been involved in domestic abuse.”

Published: Monday, 17th April 2023