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Scottish Police Have Been Praised For This Open Letter To A Woman At Risk Of Domestic Abuse

"We know you follow this account and want you to see this."

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A police force in Scotland has been praised for an open letter it wrote on Twitter to a woman who officers believe is at risk of domestic abuse.

A letter to a young woman in #Skye. We know you follow this account and want you to see this. We’ve told you prev… https://t.co/P2X1SE5GoL

Lochaber and Skye police believed the young woman follows their account, so reached out to her directly to offer help, support, and advice on what to do about it.

We want to help you and are doing lots with other agencies to try to keep you safe. You might not see us, you mig… https://t.co/PRH1no87F8

Your family and friends have told you they think you are in danger – they support you and want you to be safe.

We think he’s probably told you, “It won’t happen again”, “I’m sorry”, “I’ll change”, he’s maybe even told you that… https://t.co/E80ITxrWe5

The police directed the woman to Scottish Women's Aid, a charity that provides help to women and children across the country who suffer from domestic abuse.

You are not trapped and you are not alone, we can help you get out, your family and friends can help you get out an… https://t.co/kYYpbljdEX

The force ended the thread by saying there's "no excuse" for domestic abuse, and reminded the women that there is help for her if she needs it.

@scotwomensaid There is #NoExcuse for #DomesticAbuse. Help is out there.

Scottish Women's Aid told BuzzFeed News it was encouraged by the police's use of social media, saying it would help the woman to seek out help and also the wider community to understand domestic abuse.

“Scottish Women’s Aid is pleased to see our colleagues in Lochaber and Skye Police using social media to reach out, both to an individual woman to invite her to take up support and to the wider community to help all understand some of the dynamics of abuse," said a spokesperson.

"As Scotland’s national domestic abuse organisation, we work with 36 services all over Scotland. These services provide advocacy, practical and emotional support. In doing so, they hear from women and children every day about how hard it can be to get support, how often professionals minimise abuse, blame the woman for staying, put pressure on her to stay or leave with no idea of the complexity of her situation.

"In this context, using Twitter to change those damaging attitudes and responses is an exciting and innovative move forward. We commend the effort and know that the police will work closely with Ross-shire Women’s Aid and Lochaber Women’s Aid in future to assess the impact of the series of tweets, to improve partnership working, and to create confidence in police and other public services.”

The police's use of social media to reach out to the woman has also been widely praised on Twitter, with one user calling it "brilliant policing".

@LochabSkyePol @scotwomensaid My god, this made me cry. This is not just brilliant policing, it's community. Wow. T… https://t.co/IyOnEqo4v1


Another praised the "amazing" idea and hoped it would encourage the woman involved to seek out help.

@LochabSkyePol @scotwomensaid Can I just say whoever's idea this was, you're amazing. You're all doing a great job and I hope it works ❤️

One person said the thread was "heartfelt and caring", and others praised the use of social media.

@LochabSkyePol @scotwomensaid A wonderful heartfelt and caring thread. You are obviously very worried for her. I ho… https://t.co/AkFARXETOG

@LochabSkyePol @scotwomensaid This is great use of social media by the police 👏👏👏 Hope you create a positive outcome for this person

@LochabSkyePol @scotwomensaid You guys are utterly AMAZING ! Domestic Violence leaves the victim in pure utter isol… https://t.co/OCi56quOID

The police updated the thread saying over 2 million people had interacted with the tweet, and reminded men and women suffering from domestic abuse that there's help out there.

Over 2 million interactions with our account over past 3 days. Incredible response to our message that's been seen… https://t.co/4KWVVxkWlv

The phone number for Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is 0800 027 1234, England's is 0808 2000 247, Wales is 0808 80 10 800, and Northern Ireland is 0808 802 1414.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

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