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Forbes McFall reports
"The Scottish Executive recognises the pressures and realises more finance is needed"
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Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 14:09 GMT
Crackdown on abuse
A woman burying her head in her hands
The plan promises improvements for the abused
The Scottish Executive has launched a national strategy to eliminate domestic abuse.

The far-reaching plan, being made public on Sunday, will see more accommodation made available and better finance and transport for those who experience abuse.

There will also be clearer guidelines for local authorities, the police and the judiciary.

It is estimated that one in five women in Scotland experience violence at the hands of their partners.

We know that it (abuse) blights lives, including the lives of children, destroys opportunities and excludes people from society in many ways

Jackie Baillie, Social Justice Minister
The strategy was produced by the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse and was welcomed by Social Justice Minister Jackie Baillie.

She said: "The Scottish Executive fully endorses the recommendation of the partnership and we will ensure that the work identified in the action plan will be carried out.

"Domestic abuse is a too common an experience - as many as one in five women in Scotland experience it.

"We know that it blights lives, including the lives of children, destroys opportunities and excludes people from society in many ways.

"The Scottish Executive is fully committed to working towards a Scotland where no-one is at risk of domestic abuse."

Access to services

The partnership, established two years ago, believes more work can be done to tackle the problems in the areas of policy and legislation; access to services; education and training and data collection and information.

The Scottish National Party's Roseanna Cunningham commented: "We already know the areas which need changing and should move quickly towards them.

"I think the recommendations are good but we should make sure that they are rolled throughout the whole of Scotland. We should also be undertaking close monitoring of how these measures are working.

Lyndsay McIntosh, Conservative MSP, said: "We need to look at areas of provision - the help services need to be there 24 hours a day, you can't make an appointment for having a domestic episode in your life."

Breach of the peace

Figures published earlier this year showed there were 26,000 incidents reported in Scotland between April and December last year.

The figures, the first set of nationally-recorded statistics for domestic abuse in Scotland, revealed that in 93% of cases women were the victims and men were the perpetrators.

More than half, (14,639) did not lead to the recording of a crime; 39% were recorded as an offence and only 5% recorded as crimes.

In 66% of cases, reports were made to the procurator fiscal with offences ranging from petty assault and breach of the peace to vandalism and non-sexual crimes.

About 33% of those bringing a complaint were repeat domestic violence victims.

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See also:

06 Sep 00 | Scotland
Abuse bill plan put on ice
20 Jan 00 | Scotland
Wallace outlines family law shake-up
24 Dec 99 | Scotland
Domestic abuse strategy questioned
22 Dec 99 | Scotland
New phase in anti-abuse campaign
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