WOMEN and children experiencing domestic abuse in Ayrshire could get better help to face attackers in court.

In Scotland victims have a right to expect competent and affordable legal services when and where they need them.

Unfortunately, in every area of Scotland, women continue to struggle to get the advice, support, and representation they need to defend themselves and their children from abuse.

We told you how a mum demanded harsher punishments for domestic abuse crimes after she was left battered and abused in Logan.

Sarah Jane now thinks there should be harsher punishments for abusers to reduce the violence in relationships.

She told us: “Abusers should be imprisoned, no wonder it keeps happening if they keep getting a slap on the wrist.

“Mine got charged with breaking my fingers but never got jailed. He just kept getting community service because they didn’t want it to affect his career.

Sarah’s horrific tale comes after new figures revealed domestic abuse happens at least three times a day in East Ayrshire, which is higher than the Scottish average.

Now Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) is embarking on a new project to address this lack of access to justice, convinced that Scotland’s so-called “demand-led” system of legal aid simply does not work for children and women SWA serves. Women and children (especially) struggle to access legal aid, and when they do, solicitors often have no grasp of the dynamics of domestic abuse and can sometimes offer inappropriate, harmful advice.

Funded by The Legal Education Foundation, the year-long project is building a case for a new model for victim-survivors. SWA wants to test a new model by putting domestic abuse competent legal-aid lawyers in a number of Women’s Aid groups across Scotland and to run a legal advice helpline that would serve all Women’s Aid groups across Scotland.