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Elizabeth Quigley, Political Correspondent
"This advert prompted five times as many people to call as last year"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 14:56 GMT
Calls to abuse helpline soar
domestic abuse helpline
The executive's campaign triggered more calls.
New research into the extent of domestic abuse against men has been commissioned by the Scottish Executive.

The announcement comes as new figures revealed calls to a helpline for all domestic abuse victims soared over Christmas and New Year.

The hotline took 2,500 calls between December 26 and January 31 - up from 500 last year and 900 the year before.

The rise is being attributed to a hard-hitting advertising campaign against domestic violence, which was screened on television.

Social Justice Minister Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie: Men also suffer domestic abuse
Communities minister Jackie Baillie said she thought the extent of domestic abuse against men was greater than people thought as she revealed academics would be reporting on the situation in 12 months time.

Ms Baillie said: "I may not have to convince anyone that domestic abuse is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and experienced by women and children.

"But we have never sought to deny that there are men who experience domestic abuse, either from female or male partners.

"It also shows the huge scale of the task we face. Domestic abuse has no place in 21st century Scotland."

Ms Baillie said she was "encouraged" more people had sought help through the Thus supported helpline as a result of an executive-funded TV campaign.

Funding plea

She said: "It's very encouraging that the 'Behind Closed Doors' advert has meant more people coming forward to seek help than ever before."

Analysis of the calls showed the vast majority were from women, with 1% from men and 1% from children.

The results have led for women's groups' to call for greater levels of funding.

Oona Hay
Oona Hay: "women's groups' underfunded"
Oona Hay from the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre said: "The increasing numbers for the helpline certainly indicate the level of violence against women within our society.

"While women's organisations continue to be under funded it's likely that there are many women out there who are trying to get through but can't."

But some came from men who were perpetrators of abuse seeking help and other men who knew a woman was a victim also called.

Ms Baillie said: "To establish the extent of this in Scotland, I have commissioned research into male victims of domestic abuse."

She also unveiled a national group, chaired by her deputy minister Margaret Curran, which will take forward the Executive's strategy on abuse over the next three years.

It will include local government, police, voluntary sector and legal representatives.

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See also:

26 Dec 00 | Scotland
Abuse helpline launched
26 Nov 00 | Scotland
Crackdown on abuse
06 Sep 00 | Scotland
Abuse bill plan put on ice
20 Jan 00 | Scotland
Wallace outlines family law shake-up
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