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Police Scotland domestic abuse Christmas campaign / Canva  Picture: Canva
Police Scotland domestic abuse Christmas campaign / CanvaCanva

Help for those at risk of domestic abuse this Christmas

Police highlight powers to tackle violence in the home

Police are urging people to call out domestic violence over the festive period.

And a campaign is highlighting powers to help people find out about their partner’s abusive past.

With covid restrictions likely to put some people more at risk from abuse, Police Scotland wants people to act.

They are “acutely aware that some people will be locked in with the person responsible for their abuse”.

And they want anyone concerned about their safety, or a friend or relative who thinks that someone is at risk, to get in touch.

Since 2015, more than 7,500 people have learned about their partner through the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland (DSDAS).

Domestic violence is on the rise in Scotland. Photo: Canva
Domestic violence is on the rise in Scotland. Photo: Canva

Police say help is at hand for those who need it.

And agencies working in domestic abuse are giving their support.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Faulds is head of public protection at Police Scotland.

"Each year reports of domestic abuse increase over the festive period.

“This year we are acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on victims locked in with the person responsible for their abuse.

'Investigate'

"So this festive season we are appealing to friends, family, colleagues and neighbours or anyone who sees something to call it out if they are concerned that someone may be a victim of domestic abuse.

“Get in touch with us and we will make sure that person is ok and we will investigate the circumstances.

“All it takes is one person to alert us and we can help end the threat and harm caused by domestic abuse.”

Scotland 62,907 recorded incidents of domestic abuse in 2019-20 - an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.

Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid said: “Survivors of domestic abuse face so many barriers to seeking support, and for loved ones it can be challenging finding the best way to support them safely.

Police say they want people to call out violence when they see it.
Police say they want people to call out violence when they see it.

“Providing a tool like the disclosure scheme that can inform survivors or their loved ones of previous abusive behaviour, could help in preventing harm to women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.

“If you are worried about someone you know, we want to remind you that our helpline is available 24/7 for confidential advice.”

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, comments: “We fully support Police Scotland’s campaign, and hope this encourages people who have experienced domestic abuse to realise that they are not alone.

“With reports of domestic abuse increasing in Scotland, it is important to recognise the long-term trauma that domestic abuse can cause.”

This year we are acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on victims locked in with the person responsible for their abuse.

Det Chief Supt Sam Faulds

Of the 13,334 DSDAS requests received, 7,530 people (56 per cent) were told that their current partner has a violent or abusive past.

Det Ch Supt Faulds said: “Behind the numbers are people who have either escaped becoming victims of domestic abuse, or who are now aware of their partner’s abusive past.

“Abusers manipulate and control their victims. Abuse can be gradual and it can be very difficult for victims of domestic abuse to recognise their situation and to then take action to get themselves out of it.

“DSDAS provides that first step. It can help prevent domestic abuse and the long term damage it can cause victims, their families and their children.”

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