Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 01:03 UK

Seeking help for victims of abuse

Close-up of woman
The abuse helpline received 21,000 calls in 2007

Volunteers from across Scotland have gathered in Ayrshire to debate the best way to provide support to victims of domestic abuse.

The Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline is due to hold its conference on Saturday.

Last year, the helpline, which offers confidential support 24 hours a day, received more than 21,000 calls.

Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell, who will open the conference, described the helpline as "an important lifeline".

He said the Scottish Government had doubled its financial commitment on the issue to 44.54m over the next three years.

We will continue to provide support and resources to women all over Scotland who want to live a life free of abuse
Liz Kelly
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline

"Violence against women continues to devastate the lives of too many women and children," he added.

"I would like to thank all the dedicated workers and volunteers who work tirelessly to make the helpline a success."

The conference will include workshops on dealing with women involved in same-sex relationships, those experiencing abuse from a carer and the cultural issues which face women from black and minority ethnic communities.

Liz Kelly, training manager at the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, said: "By training, increased knowledge and greater awareness, we will continue to provide support and resources to women all over Scotland who want to live a life free of abuse."

The telephone lines are provided free of charge from Thus and the Scottish Government funds three full-time and one part-time members of staff.

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