Drop in domestic abuse figures

GLASGOW is beginning to win the war on domestic abuse – and the city's top cops hope the rest of the country will follow.

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Glasgow is making inroads in the war on domestic abuse. Picture posed by models.
Glasgow is making inroads in the war on domestic abuse. Picture posed by models.

New figures show almost 2000 fewer domestic crimes have been recorded in the Strathclyde area since April last year, compared to the previous year.

They come as specialist training for domestic abuse workers across Scotland is launched in Glasgow, to help prevent "postcode lottery" care.

The training is a partner-ship between Glasgow-based Assist – Advocacy, Support, Safety, Information and Services Together – Scottish Women's Aid and accrediting body CAADA – Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse. It receives funding from the Scottish Government.

As reported in the Evening Times in November, the proactive approach used by Assist was rolled out across Strathclyde – and is now being used as a template as Scotland moves to a single police force in April.

In August, we told how domestic abuse crime had increased by 56% in the past five years as more people were reporting it to the police.

In 2011/12, some 23,395 domestic abuse crimes were recorded, including three murders, 11 attempted murders, 59 rapes and 862 indecent assaults.

In 2006/07 the total recorded was 14,958.

However, police now hope the number is falling.

Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton, of Strath-clyde Police, said there were 770 fewer incidents of domestic abuse and 1990 fewer domestic crimes recorded in the force since April last year, compared to the previous year. The full annual figure for 2012/13 will be calculated in April.

He said the positive news was down to the partnership approach between agencies and police, being spear-headed in Glasgow.

He said: "We've seen reductions in domestic abuse violence in Strath-clyde – and it's very much down to catching people before domestic crime happens in the first place."

Mr Hamilton said: "We kept seeing the figures going up so we had to do something.

"Now the proactive approach is working. The way I see it is if we had intelligence that someone was going to rob a bank we wouldn't wait for it to happen.

"So if we know violence is going to happen in the home we knock on the door or we get the perpetrator on something else. We need to send a strong message to say this is unacceptable."

Mr Hamilton said domestic abuse would take priority for Police Scotland. He added: "The same focus and emphasis that was placed on it by Chief Constable Steve House in Strathclyde will be replicated in each of the 14 Scottish divisions.

"We'll look at what partnerships currently exist and work with them for one aim: to reduce the number of victims of domestic abuse.

"We will work with Assist and where they don't exist we'll look to Scottish Women's Aid and voluntary groups where people are best placed to provide victim support.

"That will allow police to get on with their jobs and lock people up."

WORKERS from agencies, includ-ing Women's Aid and Barnardo's have gathered in the Assist headquarters in Glasg-ow's East End for this week's training.

Since it was launched in 2004, Assist has helped to almost halve the rate of repeat abuse, from 65% to 35%.

Its leader, Mhairi McGowan, said: "This is the first specialist domestic abuse training course to spread the independent advocacy approach.

"It is bringing people from across Scotland and from different organisations together to learn how to share information to support victims and identify risk factors."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said they hoped to "eliminate post-code lotteries for victims of domestic abuse".

She added: "The advocacy training will help us achieve consistency across the whole of Scotland and provide coordinated action against domestic abuse.

"The Scottish Government is also working on a strategy on violence against women, which should be published by the end of this year."

rachel.loxton@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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