Domestic and Sexual Assault Team – DASAT (West Lothian Council)

Who is this for?

  • People aged 5 years old and over who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

Who provides this?

  • West Lothian Council

Description

The Domestic and Sexual Assault Team (DASAT) provides a specialised service to Adults and Children in West Lothian who are experiencing, or have experienced domestic abuse, gender- based violence and provides support to victims of sexual violence.

DASAT has a versatile and committed team comprising of 2 team managers, 6 children’s workers, 15 adult’s workers and an admin officer.

DASAT has a number of services available to people who have experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. These include the Domestic Abuse service, Specialist Court Advocacy service, Sexual Violence service, the LISA (Living In Safe Accommodation) Project, Almond Project, UP2U Partner Support and a counselling service for young women aged 13 – 25. Referrals for counselling for people over 25 are signposted through our partnership with Wellbeing Scotland.

Domestic Abuse Service

Our Domestic Abuse workers provide a range of support services to adults who experience domestic abuse, to recognise the signs of domestic violence and abuse, support with the first steps in leaving an abusive situation/relationship. The Domestic Abuse worker will provide advice and guidance on issues such as: money, housing, children, education, employment and the journey to recovery. Services on offer include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Safety planning
  • Emotional and practical support
  • Advice/Advocacy, information and contacts for other services

Working alongside the individual, the Domestic Abuse worker will assess what their needs are and undertake an assessment of risk, then will jointly formulate a support plan. The Domestic Abuse service will continue to make regular contact, providing support until they are allocated a Domestic Abuse worker, specific to their needs. Where appropriate the worker will signpost the individual to other agencies.

Domestic Abuse Court Advocacy Service

DASAT provides a specialist domestic abuse court advocacy and support service focused on reducing risk and improving the safety of victims of domestic abuse.

The aim is to ensure that all victims of domestic abuse are safe, informed and supported throughout their involvement with the justice system.

Following a domestic incident which has been reported to the Police, the court advocacy workers will aim to contact the individual the next working day and jointly assess the risks faced and talk about options that could help individual stay safe. Specialist Court Advocacy workers can offer support throughout the court process. They

will support the individual to ensure their voice is heard in court and follow up outcomes from court proceedings keeping people updated.

The specialist domestic abuse court advocacy service also provides a Drop-In service which operates every Friday from 10.30am to 12pm, via an electronic platform, offering a safe space to ask questions in relation to their court proceedings they are or may be involved with regarding domestic abuse.

Sexual Violence service

The Sexual Violence service provides emotional and practical support, advice, advocacy and information to survivors of sexual violence, historical or recent sexual assault, rape. Sexual Violence workers provide support and advocacy to survivors who have engaged or are considering engaging with the justice system following a sexual crime. This can include support to make a disclosure and report to Police Scotland, if and when the individual is ready to do so. Some people choose not to. Services on offer include:

  • Safety planning
  • Support to attend a forensic medical*
  • Emotional and practical support
  • Support to make a report or opt not to report to Police Scotland
  • Advice/Advocacy, information and contacts for other services
  • Support throughout their journey with the court process

*Forensic evidence can be collected and stored, if you decide to make a report later

Counsellor

DASAT includes a counsellor who offers a service to survivors of sexual abuse, rape and/or sexual assault for those aged 13 – 25 years. Counselling sessions are available through a virtual platform, on Zoom or telephone.

Freedom Programme

Freedom Programme is an 11-week group programme designed for women as survivors of domestic abuse. The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs, on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help women make sense of and understand what has happened to them.

Peer Support Women’s Group

The Peer Support Group meet weekly on a Thursday, from 10am – 12pm in the Livingston area. This is a safe space to meet with people with a shared lived experience of domestic and or sexual violence. If you are interested in being involved with the group please contact DASAT on the details below.

Working with Children and Young People

Our Children’s service supports children and young people aged 5-16 to explore, process and recover from their experiences of hurting in families. Services are delivered in a range of ways to meet individual needs, this can include 1-1 support or group work programmes. Support is available to children and young people throughout West Lothian, focusing on how domestic abuse can affect child development, their wider world and the parent/child relationship.

Support to children and young people is tailored to suit their age, ability, awareness and individual needs and circumstances. As well as supporting children who have experienced hurting in families we also work with older young people who have experienced abuse within their own relationships. Our work with children and young people can include safety planning, understanding feelings and emotions, exploring worries, building self-esteem and resilience, healthy relationships and understanding consent, responsibilities and gender.

1 to 1 Support

One to one support is offered to young people referred to the DASAT service who feel more comfortable on a one to one basis in comparison to group support.

A safe space is made available and developed between the young person and their DASAT worker, sessions are planned and tailored to the young person’s specific experiences and needs. Various resources are used to support the young person to express and explore their thoughts regarding the impact of domestic abuse on their emotional and social development, such as arts and crafts, colourful visuals, games and useful websites.

The young person will receive as many sessions as are required, on occasion they will be supported to determine if they require further support following DASAT input from a different service and will be signposted as needed.

Nurture Group

Nurture Group is a six-week program which aims to provide an opportunity for children aged five and six who have experienced domestic abuse to meet with other children who have experienced similar difficulties within their families.

The sessions will include games, art activities, physical play and discussion to encourage children to share experiences, talk about feelings and have some fun. All activities will be age appropriate and after each session the children will have a chance to play and build relationships with each other in a safe and secure environment.

Children and Teen Groups

DASAT Children and Teen Group is an 8-week programme, which aims to provide an opportunity for young people who have experienced the impact of domestic abuse to meet with others who have experienced similar difficulties within their families.

The weekly sessions are planned and adapted to the young people’s experiences so that each individual’s needs are met.

The group experience can help reduce feelings of isolation, can provide young people with a safe space to express and explore their thoughts with others who have a shared experience, as well as helping to build confidence and self-esteem whilst developing connections with peers of similar age.

Games, art activities, physical play and group discussions help to support young people in talking about what’s important to them as well as having some fun.

CEDAR (Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery) Programme

West Lothian’s CEDAR programme is an 11-week programme, working with women and children who are in recovery from domestic abuse. It is a unique way of working with children, young people and their mothers who have experienced domestic abuse. The CEDAR journey breaks the silence about domestic abuse in families, helps to build emotional literacy and strengthens family relationships as a source of long-term resilience. Both women and children have reported that the CEDAR programme has had a profound and positive impact on their emotional wellbeing as well as the mother/child relationship.

Early Intervention and Prevention work

DASAT supports the community through community engagement, raising awareness throughout West Lothian to increase awareness and understanding of gender-based violence. This is imperative if we are to reduce the number of families affected by domestic abuse. DASAT are able to speak with community organisations on an outreach basis to build community engagement and awareness of gender-based violence.

Training

DASAT provides multi agency training on domestic abuse which includes understanding gender, the typology and impact of abuse as well as an overview of the Safe and Together model. If you are interested in receiving training please contact DASAT using the email below.

How do I access this?

  • Referrals can be made via phone or email. We accept self-referrals and referrals from all partner agencies such as Social Work, Police, and voluntary services.
  • New referrals: DASATReferrals@westlothian.gov.uk

Is there a cost?

Free

Is there a waiting list?

Yes

Location information

  • Public parking available
  • Wheelchair access
  • Translation service available

Opening times

Monday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Tuesday9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Wednesday9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Thursday9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Friday9.00 am – 4.00 pm
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed

Contact Details

Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, EH54 6FF

Types of support on offer:

Drop-in
Information and advice
Support from someone with similar experience
Support in person
Support on the phone

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