Domestic abuse reporting scheme rolled out across Scotland
A scheme that allows victims of domestic abuse to report crimes without having to go to a police station is to be rolled out across Scotland.
Remote reporting sites - such as community centres, housing associations and citizens advice centres - have been used by Strathclyde Police since 2009.
Now the new single police force for Scotland, which begins operations on 1 April, will adopt the idea nationwide.
Chief Constable Steve House said third-party sites had been a success.
They have also been used by Tayside Police for people from minority groups suffering hate crimes.
Ahead of announcing the plans to tackle domestic abuse, at a Scottish Women's Aid conference in Edinburgh, Mr House said: "Abusers come from all parts of society and all over Scotland and fear plays a big part in why victims are all too often reluctant to come forward.
"They often feel helpless and fear that no-one will believe them.
"The remote reporting/third party sites, which have been so successful in parts of Scotland, give victims a chance to take control and decide when, where and to whom they take the first important step in reporting their abusers."
Specially trained staff
He added: "By rolling out these sites across all of Scotland, we will give victims equal access to the specially trained officers who are able to give them the support they need while vigorously pursuing those who cause such harm to victims."
Mr House will tell the Domestic Abuse Stops conference that among many reasons why victims, or those close to them, do not report domestic abuse to police are embarrassment and being reluctant to talk to officers.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "Specially trained staff will be able to help the victim fill in an online form that will then be sent to a specialist team of highly trained, experienced officers who will decide, in consultation with our partners, on the most appropriate course of action.
"This offers the victim a safe place to report the abuse they are suffering and decide when and where an officer comes to speak to them, if the officer is male or female, uniformed or in plain clothes.
The remote reporting sites will also be situated in multi-cultural centres where staff fluent in other languages will be able to offer assistance if English is not the first language of the person reporting the crime.