THE Wee County's Women's Aid group have welcomed a national initiative aimed at improving access to legal services for domestic abuse survivors.

Scottish Women's Aid (SWA) recently launched a year-long project to put domestic abuse competent legal-aid lawyers in some of their groups across the country.

SWA also hope to launch a legal advice helpline which would serve all of their groups.

And while the project is still in its infancy, the Clacks Women's Aid branch has hailed it as a "positive step" in the right direction.

In explaining the reason for launching the programme, SWA's chief executive, Dr Marsha Scott, said: "Women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse are told every day that justice applies to them, and they discover every day, through lack of access to vital services, that in fact it doesn't.

"At Scottish Women's Aid we have been hearing for decades about the difficulties women and children face in getting legal support and services when they need them.

"Workers in every one of our 36 services tell us horror stories of poor or no service – women representing themselves because they can't afford a lawyer, children being treated as pawns by abusers in civil processes that violate children's rights, lawyers telling women not to mention the domestic abuse because sheriffs don't want to hear about it.

"This does not represent the Scotland that any of us want, but we have to challenge the Aye Been of how we fund and provide services to make justice real for victim-survivors.

"At Scottish Women's Aid we are excited to take the next step on this journey towards getting us there."

A spokesperson for Clackmannanshire Women's Aid told the Advertiser: "We would agree there are inconsistencies in both access to legal services and appropriate legal advice given across Scotland.

"We feel improving the awareness and understanding of domestic abuse within legal services can only be a positive step forward.

"Clackmannanshire Women's Aid eagerly await the model developed through this research and hope that it will improve services in our local area."

Anyone looking to access Women's Aid services in the Wee County can call 01259 721 407.