Domestic abuse rises to ten-year high

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More Borderers than ever reported domestic abuse in the year to March 2013, Scottish Government figures revealed on Tuesday.

A total of 930 incidents were recorded by police in the region in the last financial year, a ten-year high and 16 per cent up on 2011/12.

The year-on-year rise was the second highest in Scotland, with only police in Aberdeenshire recording a bigger jump in the number of reported incidents.

Despite the increase, Andrea Beavon, Violence Against Women co-ordinator at SBC said the rise could be seen as a positive, with more people feeling confident enough to report incidents because of the ‘robust response’ of the police and the availability of support services locally.

She added: “With the Pathway Project over 60 per cent of our referrals come direct from the police, and we don’t leave victims hanging at the end of a police incident - we proactively get people into the service and contact them within 24 hours.”

Ms Beavon also emphasised that domestic abuse does not necessarily involve violence.

“Family, friends and work colleagues need to understand that because someone is not coming in with a black eye and a cut lip that they are not a victim of domestic abuse, and that is something we need to get people in the Borders to realise,” she said.

Responding to the figures, John Lamont MSP said: “These statistics are undoubtedly concerning, and show that we are not getting to grips with the problem of domestic abuse in our region.

“It is a vile crime to commit, and to see that the number of reported cases is at a ten-year high shows that it is becoming more prevalent than ever.”

The statistics also revealed that of all the incidents recorded by Lothian and Borders Police, 60 per cent involved victims of previous domestic abuse.

However, of the 10,703 incidents reported to the local force, as it was then, less than 30 per cent were recorded as actual offences.

Mr Lamont said: “It is down to us as a society to help these individuals out, but we are failing to do this if we let those who abuse to re-offend time and again.”

He added: “Each person who reports a case of domestic deserves our full support. Not only do they need to be given an option to escape their situation, we also need to come down hard on those committing these offences.”