NEW WARNING ON DOMESTIC ABUSE
Reported incidents rise to over 2200
More than 2200 cases of domestic abuse were reported in West Lothian in 2016-17, a shocking new report reveals.
The annual government report shows that 124 people per 10,000 fall victim to domestic abuse in the area – the eighth highest rate of abuse in Scotland.
There were 2241 reported incidents, a rise from 2203 the previous year.
Detective Chief Inspector Debra Forrester, from the Domestic Abuse Task Force, this week warned that it is a continuing problem across Scotland.
And she stressed that more help from communities was key to reducing harm and protecting victims of domestic abuse.
Det Ch Insp Forrester said: “No one is immune from domestic abuse, it can occur in every type of relationship, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or age. Domestic abuse is often about control, the blame for which lies solely with the perpetrators.
“Any report of domestic abuse is one report too many. However, these figures do reflect the work being carried out by Police Scotland and other relevant partner organisations to encourage victims to come forward and report abuse directly, or through the various different reporting methods available, such as third-party reporting and the charity Crimestoppers.
“I would like to assure all members of our community that we treat these
crimes with the utmost seriousness and whenever people have the courage to report them to us, we will investigate robustly to identify and apprehend those responsible, while providing victims with all the necessary support and assistance they may require.”
However, a spokesperson for Scottish Women’s Aid said the data is only a snapshot of a much bigger problem.
The spokesperson said: “For every reported incident, there are so many stories untold, because domestic abuse is never just an ‘ incident’. Domestic abuse is about control. It is about intimidation, humiliation and sometimes violence.
“It robs women, children and young people of their self- esteem, their liberty, their right to live free from fear and, tragically for a small number, male violence robs them of their life.”
There were 58,810 recorded incidents in Scotland last year with women being the victim of a male abuser in 79 per cent of the cases where gender was recorded.
The Scottish Government have allocated £ 20million over three years to reduce violence against women and girls. And their Domestic Abuse Bill is moving through Holyrood.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We know these figures don’t paint the whole picture, victims are often too afraid to report abuse. It is crucial our work continues with even greater urgency.”