Domestic abuse in North Ayrshire is higher than the Scottish average - but a multi-media agency campaign is committed to tackling violence against women and girls.

A zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence in North Ayrshire is helping the most vulnerable.

Domestic abuse accounted for 667 homeless applications between 2017 and 2022, with 78 per cent of them from women.

Police Scotland figures indicate domestic abuse in North Ayrshire has been higher than the Scottish average since 2009.

However, the council has driven a campaign over the last five years, promoting a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence and detailing the availability of services.

The North Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership is committed to tackling violence against women and girls; working together to deliver services which respond to national and local priorities in line with the equally safe strategy.

The partnership deliver an ambitious action plan aligned to the Safer North Ayrshire strategy.

Over the last three years it has focused on delivering programmes within schools, tackling gender inequality and challenging stereotypical behaviour; a safe space initiative across various local businesses.

Other a training framework across community planning partners and the annual 16 days of action campaign to end violence against women and girls across North Ayrshire.

In 2021, the council, registered social landlords, Women’s Aid and Police Scotland launched a domestic abuse policy for North Ayrshire residents, setting out their joint commitments to tenants and residents affected by domestic abuse.

The local authority’s project supports residents of domestic abuse who choose to stay within their own home.

Each year, an average of 260 households are provided with advice, support and, where required, the installation of security measures to a person’s home to ensure they feel safe.

The provision of support services for people affected by domestic abuse is necessary to address inequality and ensure access to healthcare, education, advice and information.

The council funds supported accommodation provision, and outreach services for women at risk of violence.

The specialist provision is currently provided by Women’s Aid.

The council has a multi-agency assessment screening hub based within Kilmarnock police station set up to reduce the prevalence of domestic abuse in North Ayrshire.

A housing support worker based within the service provides person-centred housing options, support and guidance to families impacted by domestic abuse.

The officer works closely with the housing advice team, housing support and other agencies to help households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

In partnership with NHS Ayrshire & Arran,  East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire has set up a multi-agency risk assessment conference system.

The risk assessment conferences are local meetings where representatives from statutory and non-statutory agencies meet to discuss people at high risk of serious harm or murder as a result of domestic abuse.

The meetings provide a safe environment for agencies to share relevant and proportionate information about current risk, after which agencies agree actions to reduce risk and increase safety.

The primary focus of the conferences is to safeguard the adult victim; however, they also link with other processes and agencies to protect children and manage the behaviour of the perpetrator.

Men who are victims of domestic violence have access to the same level of support which women do.