Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Domestic abuse level in city soars by 11%
DOMESTIC abuse in Edinburgh has soared by 11 per cent in a year, according to new figures published today. A total of 5784 incidents of domestic abuse were reported to police in the Capital in 2006-07, compared with 5178 the previous year. The increase is higher than the seven per cent rise recorded in the rest of Scotland.

Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell claimed the rise in the reporting of domestic abuse showed more people were recognising it was unacceptable.
But he said the figures were the tip of the iceberg and showed there was more work still to do. Across Scotland, the statistics showed recorded incidents of domestic abuse rose from 45,812 in 2005-06 to 48,801 in 2006-07.

Separate findings from the 2006 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey, also published today, showed only one-in-five victims of abuse by a partner had reported the incident to police.

Mr Maxwell said: "It is deplorable that male violence against women, through crimes such as rape or domestic abuse, continues to devastate many lives. The rise in the reporting of incidents shows that while we have made progress in changing attitudes and encouraging women to report domestic abuse, there is still a lot more work to do in tackling this problem."

He said the Scottish Government's campaign: "Domestic abuse, there's no excuse", had succeeded in increasing awareness of the issue. "More people now recognise that all forms of domestic abuse are wrong," he said.

"While many women are seeking help from support services such as the Domestic Abuse Helpline and Scottish Women's Aid, and more women are reporting incidents to the police, this new research also shows that many are not.

"It's important that we do all we can to encourage people to report incidents so we can know the true extent of this problem and ensure that perpetrators are properly punished."
Community safety spokesman for the Conservatives, John Lamont described today's figures as shocking.

He said: "To see less than half of all incidents being recorded as a crime is dreadful.
"The fact that an increasing number of cases - 57 per cent - involve known repeat victimisation shows we are not doing enough to get abusive partners out of abusive relationships.

"In many ways this is often the worst form of abuse, as the abused partner often feels trapped in a relationship - sometimes unable or unwilling to ask for help.
"We all have a duty to play our part, as family, friends or neighbours to help mend this part of our broken society.

"Our social and voluntary services need support to help victims of domestic abuse and the state must reflect society's abhorrence of abusers in the way it pursues, prosecutes and sentences these people. Domestic abuse must not be the hidden crime that shames 21st century Scotland."

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