NHS staff in Scotland are to be trained to identify domestic abuse victims and try to get them to speak about their suffering.
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Substance misuse and sexual health professionals will also receive training from a national NHS domestic abuse team. The group has been put in place to help health boards introduce the initiative by developing specialist training packages for staff, highlighting best practice and issuing guidance.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said Scotland will be the “first country in the UK” to tackle domestic abuse through the NHS, in order to identify and help more victims.
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.
“This early detection and a sympathetic response will help to protect victims and children and offer them the opportunity to access help and support to get their lives back on track.”