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15 September 2015, 11:22
A scheme to train 100,000 professionals such as firefighters, hairdressers and vets to spot domestic abuse is not designed to be "overly intrusive'', according to the Justice Secretary.
The drive, devised by Police Scotland's violence reduction unit and Medics Against Violence, aims to train workers who are in regular contact with members of the public to spot the signs of domestic violence and urge them to seek help.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visited Campbell and Galloway vets in Glasgow, who have offered to look out for signs of domestic abuse linked to animal abuse.
Figures show large numbers of domestic abuse victims also report threats or physical violence against their pets, he said.
"Around 2,000 (professionals) have already gone through the programme and it's proven to be effective, and we now want to roll that out across the country,'' he told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme.
"It will allow us to skill up to around 100,000 different professionals being trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence, and having the confidence and ability to support that individual and, if necessary, signpost them on to a support service to get assistance.''
He added: "It's actually not about trying to be overly intrusive into an individual's life.
"It's about giving them support and assistance when they have been identified, and it's about equipping them with the necessary skills to do that.''
Allied health professionals will be trained to spot domestic violence in their patients, firefighters will be trained to spot signs of domestic violence in houses they attend and vets will be trained to link animal abuse with potential domestic abuse, he said.
"The reason that vets have identified themselves as a group that would wish to participate in this is because there is research that demonstrates a link between animal cruelty and domestic violence,'' he said.
"That research has indicated that by equipping vets with the right knowledge and skills to deal with this type of issue they're able to intervene and support individuals who may then be experiencing domestic violence in their own home that can transfer into a pet being being brought into the vets.''