Tackling domestic abuse

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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 added:

“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.”