Welcome fall in domestic abuse – but more action is required

Fall in domestic abuse - but more needs to be done.
Fall in domestic abuse – but more needs to be done.

A REDUCTION IN DOMESTIC abuse cases in Scotland is being welcomed by a regional MSP this week – with a warning that the continuation of any form of such abuse is unacceptable.

Rhoda Grant has been a long-term campaigner on the issue and this week welcomed the 3% fall in domestic abuse cases reported by Police Scotland – from 59,882 to 58,104 – over the last year.

However, she warned: “On the face of it is a move in the right direction and to be welcomed – but we really need to remember that all forms of domestic abuse are totally unacceptable behaviour in our modern society and we need to do more, much more to make a real positive impact on these figures.

“We need a zero tolerance to this issue”

Turning specifically to Moray, the MSP added: “I am aware that for this current year these statistics show a slight decrease in the number of incidents of Domestic Abuse reported to the Police in the region.

“In 2014/15 the total number was 749 and in 2015/16 that number dropped to 730. At least the trend is now heading in the right direction, but last year there was a spike and these figures alarmingly reached an all-time high.

“It could of course be argued that this jump was due to improved education and awareness of this issue across Moray which I understand was in fact and element of the rise back then.”

Mrs Grant said that more needs to be done to support victims and their families, adding: “I know that Police Scotland and their partners are doing their bit by making sure that they have measures in place to deal with this type of crime as a priority.

“They also have their disclosure scheme and joint educational programmes with partners. Women’s Aid are key in the supporting role, but as I have previously highlighted, Women’s Aid agencies are having to swim against the tide as they face funding cuts and increased demand.

“Having visited Women’s Aid across the Highlands, Islands and Moray, I have learned first-hand how staff are having to resort to fundraising to make ends meet. The simple fact is that too much demand is being placed on these staff members who are trying to juggle competing demands in difficult times.”

The Labour MSP again highlighted special domestic abuse courts operating in the central belt, insisting that these should be introduced throughout Moray and the Highlands.

She added: “I have written to the Government on this matter, particularly with a new Justice Centre coming to Inverness.

“If we had these specially convened Domestic Abuse Courts, then we would have all the right professionals at the Court to support victims. This type of initiative has been piloted and found to work around the central belt, so why are the Government and the Crown dragging their feet with regards to the introduction up here.”