'Worrying' festive rise in domestic abuse in Scotland

Image caption, There were 1,870 more reported incidents of domestic abuse

Police have described as "worrying" new statistics which show a 24% rise in domestic abuse incidents across Scotland over the festive period.

Figures compiled by Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) show 9,812 incidents in December and January compared to 7,942 the previous year.

Ch Insp Graham Goulden said the figures were a "badge of shame for Scotland".

But he said it was encouraging that so many victims had come forward and were no longer prepared to stay silent.

The figures show that Scottish police forces recorded a total 4,783 domestic abuse incidents in December and 5,029 in January.

Less tolerance

This compared with 4,071 in December 2009 and 3,871 in January 2010.

Ch Insp Goulden, who heads the anti-violence campaign on behalf of the VRU, said: "When we released the December figures, I said they were a badge of shame for Scotland.

"The fact the figures for January are higher, and that a comparison with the previous year shows a rise of 1,870 incidents, reinforces that.

"However, we should draw confidence from the fact these stats are based on reported crime. Increasing numbers of people are coming forward to report, they are less tolerant of domestic abuse, have increased confidence that help is available and now know they don't have to put up with this intolerable behaviour."

Meanwhile, Scottish Borders Council has announced it will review its response to domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women to address a "consistent increase" in the number of incidents reported to police.

A council report said current provision comprised "an ad hoc mixture" of generic and specialist services in different agencies, with a mix of adult and children's services across the voluntary and statutory services.

It said it was "clear that the numbers of women and children living in high risk situations is greater than expected and there is evidence of considerable unmet need".

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