Stalked: Bethany Haines tells of how she feared for her life.

STATIS­TICS: Claim as web­site says vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse be­ing failed by au­thor­i­ties

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CLAIRE WARRENDER cwar­ren­[email protected]­

know through re­search that one in two of do­mes­tic stalk­ers, when they made a threat, will act on it. LAURA RICHARDS

The daugh­ter of a mur­dered Perthshire aid worker feared she would be killed by a for­mer part­ner who ha­rassed her for more than a year.

Bethany Haines, whose fa­ther David was killed by IS in Syria in 2014, said she could have ended up as an­other do­mes­tic homi­cide statis­tic as a re­sult of the abuse she suf­fered.

The Perth woman spoke out as it was re­vealed six women in Scot­land were killed at the hands of a part­ner or ex-part­ner in the last three years, de­spite pre­vi­ously re­port­ing them to po­lice for abu­sive be­hav­iour.

Miss Haines was stalked for six months by An­drew Mur­ray af­ter their abu­sive re­la­tion­ship ended. He even ripped up a scrap­book ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of her late fa­ther.

The data re­leased by Po­lice Scot­land to women’s web­site Broadly fol­low­ing a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest builds on an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the num­ber of women killed by stalk­ers across the UK.

The ad­di­tion of the Scot­tish fig­ures brings the to­tal num­ber of women killed by peo­ple pre­vi­ously re­ported by them to po­lice to 55.

Po­lice Scot­land said do­mes­tic abuse was a pri­or­ity and of­fi­cers were com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing and sup­port­ing vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

How­ever, Broadly claimed the fig­ures showed do­mes­tic abuse vic­tims were be­ing failed by the au­thor­i­ties that were sup­posed to pro­tect them.

Laura Richards of anti-stalk­ing char­ity Pal­adin said the statis­tics were ex­tremely con­cern­ing.

“We know through re­search that one in two of do­mes­tic stalk­ers, when they made a threat, will act on it and that many per­pe­tra­tors are se­rial,” she said.

Ms Richards said train­ing to iden­tify and man­age risk was vi­tal and called for se­rial stalk­ers and do­mes­tic abusers to be in­cluded on the same reg­is­ter as sex of­fend­ers.

Po­lice Scot­land said of­fi­cers at­tended 58,810 do­mes­tic abuse in­ci­dents in 2016/17, the equiv­a­lent of one ev­ery nine min­utes.

De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Gor­don Mc­creadie, head of the force’s do­mes­tic abuse task­force, said per­pe­tra­tors who pose the great­est risk of se­ri­ous harm were thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated by spe­cial­ist of­fi­cers.

“Po­lice Scot­land has a clear risk as­sess­ment and es­ca­la­tion process fol­low­ing all re­ports of do­mes­tic abuse and stalk­ing and ha­rass­ment,” he said.

Mr Mc­creadie added that po­lice had contributed to a new law crim­i­nal­is­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse and co­er­cive con­trol, which would see more than 14,000 of­fi­cers and staff re­ceive ex­tra train­ing to en­sure a “con­tin­ued pro­fes­sional re­sponse” to vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse.

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