Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Money worries fuel domestic abuse

Distressed woman
The charity said a TV advertising campaign had also prompted calls

A Scottish charity has claimed the economic downturn could be to blame for an increase in incidents of domestic abuse over the festive period.

The Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline received 2,347 calls between 26 December and 25 January - an increase of 7.5% on the previous year.

Advisors found many callers said the threat of redundancy and money worries had increased tensions in the home.

A TV advert for the service was also cited as a reason for a rise in calls.

Liz Kelly, head of training at the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, said: "We've had a very busy period over Christmas and New Year and many of the calls have been prompted by the new 'I Soar' television advert, which is encouraging, as it has clearly resonated with a lot of people who aspire to have hope and a life free of abuse."

'Short fuses'

But she said the credit crunch was also having an impact.

"Many female callers talked about how their partners were taking their money worries out on them," she said.

"The atmosphere in the home was becoming even more strained and there were more short fuses, bouts of aggression and violence than usual."

Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Robert Brown MSP said more should be done to stop repeat offenders.

He said: "Domestic abuse in any form is unacceptable, regardless of the motivation. We want to see a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse in Scotland.

"This report is, however, very relevant as it highlights the extra pressures and risks placed on people in this current financial climate.

"But, almost half of all domestic abuse cases come from repeat offenders. Ministers must place greater emphasis on identifying those people likely to become repeat offenders and protecting their families."

The Scottish Government has committed 44m over the next three years to tackle violence against women, including supporting the work of the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and the network of local rape crisis centres.



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