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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
Another praised the "amazing" idea and hoped it would encourage the woman involved to seek out help.
One person said the thread was "heartfelt and caring", and others praised the use of social media.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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