By Shaunna Whitters
DOMESTIC abuse remains Scotland’s ‘national shame’ after cases reported over the festive period increased, says a leading Police officer.
Over 10,000 cases were reported from December 1 to January 31, an increase of 261 incidents on the same period last year.
The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) said the figure is too high and are calling for young people to be educated on the consequences of domestic abuse in hope that it will reduce future incidents.
Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, who heads the VRU anti-violence campaign, said: “Domestic abuse is Scotland’s national shame. The commitment of police and partners to tackling that shame is beyond doubt – only last week the Chief Constable of Scotland announced new plans to tackle domestic abuse, and organisations like Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, Zero Tolerance, White Ribbon Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have been relentless in placing this issue at the top of agenda in Scotland.
”But while they are doing everything they can, we must remember that domestic abuse is everyone’s problem. If we really want to make a difference to levels of domestic abuse, we need to look at our attitudes towards relationships and what we see as acceptable.”
Domestic abuse costs Scotland around £2.3 billion per year and usually peaks over Christmas. Strathclyde police reported the highest amount of abuse as 4663 cases were recorded. Dumfries and Galloway reported the lowest with 172 incidents were reported.
The Government have increased funding for the Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland project which aims to educate school pupils to safely challenge and intervene when they see aggressive or inappropriate behaviour.
The project will target seven secondary schools across Scotland. If it is successful, the project is set to expand nationwide.
Liz Kelly, from the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, said: “It’s vital that young people understand early on what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship. No-one should have to suffer abuse within a relationship.
”We would urge anyone who is suffering abuse or has concerns that someone they know and care for is suffering abuse to call us on 0800 027 1234.”