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08/10/13 09:55

Tackling domestic abuse

New figures demonstrate importance of national strategy.

A new national strategy and continued substantial funding will be crucial to tackling domestic abuse in Scotland, Shona Robison said today.

Ms Robison, who is Minister for Equalities, was speaking as new statistics out today show that the police reported 60,080 domestic abuse incidents across the country in 2012-13. Incidents of domestic abuse resulting in a report being submitted to the procurator fiscal (PF) has increased significantly from 2003-2004 where only 51 per cent of cases where reported to the PF to 78 per cent last year.

Funding to tackle this issue has increased by 62 per cent since 2007, to £34.5 million between 2012 and 2015.

The Scottish Government is currently developing a new national Violence Against Women strategy for dealing with this issue, which will be published next year.

Ms Robison said:

“No-one should doubt our determination and commitment to tackle domestic abuse. These incidences of violence remain far too prevalent in our society and advances in technology have created new means for some people to abuse and exploit others. That is why we are taking action to help victims of such attacks and are delivering substantial financial support to help victims and prevent abuse from happening in the first place.

“We are developing a new strategy to tackle Violence Against Women in modern Scotland and I welcome the proactive and resolute response to domestic abuse from Police Scotland who have made tackling domestic abuse and rape two of their top three priorities.

“In our strategy we also plan more help and support for victims going through the justice system by putting their interests at the heart of these on-going improvements.

“These figures demonstrate once again the need to abolish the requirement for corroboration in criminal trials. This is a barrier to obtaining justice for the victims of crimes committed in private or where no-one else was there.

“Abolition alone will not resolve the problems in addressing sexual crime. That is why we are working with all our partners to make sure that victims have the confidence to come forward, that the criminal justice system serves these victims as well as it can and to change attitudes so that crimes like domestic abuse are seen by everyone as the utterly abhorrent crimes they are. At the very least, it will allow crimes committed in private, where the victim has suffered in silence, or behind closed doors, to be brought to court.”

Manager of Scottish Women’s Aid Lily Greenan said:

“We expect reported incidents of domestic abuse to continue to rise as the awareness of domestic abuse increases, professionals receive more training and as a result, women are encouraged to report the abuse they are experiencing to the police. The development of an effective, robust criminal justice response is crucial to the long term prevention of domestic abuse. We commend the high priority Police Scotland has given to tackling domestic abuse since its establishment in April this year.”

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton said:

"We recognise the harrowing impact domestic abuse has on victims, their families and the wider community. In the last few years we have dedicated significant resources towards tackling domestic abuse – as well as supporting victims, we have placed a much greater emphasis on targeting repeat and serial offenders.

"The figures have increased and this is in part we believe due to increased levels of confidence that members of the public who experienced abuse of this nature have in coming forward and reporting to the police. It's something we have worked hard to foster and would continue to encourage.

"The Police Scotland position is clear – we will continue to be tough and target the perpetrators of domestic abuse. It has no place in a modern Scotland. Our ultimate goal is to impact upon the levels of domestic abuse we have seen in recent years and to achieve a positive outcome for victims and their families."

Notes to editors

You can view the full statistics at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/10/2411

The Scottish Government strategy to tackle domestic abuse will be published in summer next year.

Funding for tackling domestic abuse, currently includes more than £2 million per year for the Caledonian System which works with domestic abuse perpetrators and the women and children affected by their abuse; more than £1 million per year for ASSIST – a support and advocacy service for victims going through the domestic abuse courts in Glasgow and £1.11 million for Scottish Women’s Aid. The Scottish Government remains committed to tackling domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women in our society.

The Minister for Equalities has announced funding for further roll out of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Project to help young people in Edinburgh and Inverclyde to make better choices regarding sexual harassment, domestic violence, bullying and other forms of violence to help create further safer, fairer communities for all. The project supports the work of Scottish Government to raise awareness of violence against women, provide attitudinal change and engage bystanders in the prevention of violence.