MAV has launched its latest initiative – a project that will train dentists to encourage victims of domestic abuse to seek help. The initiative, launched by MAV founder Dr Christine Goodall and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon, is being piloted by NHS Ayrshire and Arran, with other health boards expressing an interest.
Dr Goodall said:
Victims of domestic abuse often suffer injuries to their teeth, face and neck, so dentists are often the first healthcare professionals they will see.
We felt it was time to take advantage of this “golden moment” to intervene and help. On average it takes around 35 incidents of abuse before a victim feels able to tell the police or a support service. This is about helping, encouraging and supporting victims to be able to make that call whenever they are ready.
Over 90 dentists and dental care professionals are expected to take part in the first training session, which comprises a short film and a series of short inputs from MAV and the Violence Reduction Unit.
Welcoming the initiative, the Cabinet Secretary said:
There are around 50,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported every year. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many cases will go unreported and undetected, which is why this initiative is so important.
The launch comes ahead of White Ribbon Scotland’s 16 Days of Action, which starts on November 25, and the domestic abuse phase of the Violence Reduction Unit’s Anti-Violence campaign, which runs from December 2010 – January 2011.
A clip from the MAV training video can be seen at the violence reduction unit website