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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Younger domestic abuse concerns
TV campaign
The SNP is asking for an overhaul of abuse services
The strategy for tackling domestic abuse has to be reviewed to target the under-25s, according to the Scottish National Party.

The SNP has published figures which it said showed incidents continued to rise, particularly among the young.

The party warned there had been a 66% rise in 16 to 18-year-olds, and up to 52% among those in their early 20s.

Ministers said more incidents were being reported because victims believed they would be taken seriously.

The SNP said the message from a number of high-profile advertising campaigns was not getting through.

Many young men think it's OK to hit a young woman
Christine Grahame

It has released what it said were "hidden" official figures, showing steep rises in domestic violence over the past five years.

The total number of incidents reported to police has almost doubled since the year 2000, to 42,000 last year.

But the SNP's South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame said the rising number of young abuse victims was most worrying.

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Many young men think it's OK to hit a young woman and perhaps what's even more worrying, some young women think it's all right to be hit.

Website statistics

"I think we should be into the schools, I know schools have a huge burden of work, but we really need to get into education - rights and responsibilities for each other, how to control your temper and so on.

"Obviously flash campaigns on the telly, that make it look as if you're doing something, are not doing anything."

The Scottish Executive said it was wrong of the SNP to say it was hiding the figures, which have been published on its website for years.

Woman in shadow
Tens of thousands of people suffer abuse each year

A spokeswoman said: "Across the board statistics show quite positively that more women are accessing services, including the helpline and Women's Aid and that the focus on seeking help and tackling the historical underreporting of domestic abuse in Scotland is working."

Scottish Women's Aid also raised questions about the SNP's concern.

Spokeswoman Heather Coady said: "It might be that we are seeing an increase in the figures due to the fact that there has been a general awareness of domestic abuse, a greater awareness, and a greater confidence of police response.

"So it's quite difficult to look at those statistics and to say off the top there's definitely a huge increase.

"There may well be an increase, but it could be down to good strategies in terms of advertising and confidence on behalf of women coming forward."

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