New film helps spot the signs of domestic abuse


A POWERFUL film showing how professionals such as GPs, dentists, hairdressers and emergency workers, can help to spot the signs of domestic abuse has been unveiled.

Routine or private appointments – like a haircut, dental check-up or a home safety visit – can often provide an opportunity for domestic abuse victims to be given advice on how to get help.

The Ask, Support and Care (ASC) programme, set up under the pioneering Medics Against Violence project and the Violence Reduction Unit, has so far trained more than 2,300 professionals.

The new film – entitled ‘Harder’ – shows how the signs of domestic abuse can sometimes be visible, though not necessarily in bruises or injury, and includes advice about how to broach this sensitive subject with someone who may be the victim of abuse.

As well as being used in training sessions, the video is being made publicly available to further raise awareness of how many more people can spot the signs of domestic abuse.

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing launched the new film.

Ms Ewing said: “Domestic abuse can often be a hidden crime, inflicting long term damage on victims who are too afraid to speak out.

“Training professionals to spot the signs and have the confidence and information to broach the subject is an important way of making a difference.

“Thousands of professionals have already been trained under the ASC and I am glad that work is continuing and being bolstered by the new and powerful film.

“Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for this Government and this year we will be being introducing to Parliament new legislation to create a specific offence of domestic abuse.

“We are also investing record levels of funding to put in place better support for victims and taking action to tackle the underlying attitudes and improve understanding of these crimes to reinforce a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse.”

Christine Goodall, founder of Medics Against Violence, said: “We firmly believe that this is everyone’s issue and we can all help on some level even if just to offer contact details for one of the specialist domestic abuse organisations.

“Those affected are our patients, our clients, our colleagues and our friends and as professionals we have a duty of care towards them, for too long domestic abuse has been the elephant in the room and we hope to change that.”

You can watch the short version of the Harder video by going to:

The ASC programme (previously AVDR – Ask, Validate, Document and Refer) has been running since 2010.