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Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Abuse figures reveal national picture
A woman burying her head in her hands
Most victims were women
The first set of nationally recorded figures for domestic abuse in Scotland shows 26,000 incidents were reported during an eight-month period.

Individual police forces have up until now collated their own statistics on this particular crime.

But an inspector of constabulary report, entitled "Hitting Home" and published in 1997, recommended that such incidents should be recorded nationally.

When the figures - gathered between April and December last year - were analysed, they showed that in 93% of cases women were the victims and men were the perpetrators.

This is often because of the specific wishes of the victim or because of a lack of evidence

Chief Inspector Maureen Brown
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. A third had reported two or three previous incidents, in a tenth of cases there had been four or five previous incidents and in 6% of cases there had been between six and 10 previous incidents.

The majority of incidents took place at home and females at most risk of becoming a victim were aged between of 26 and 30.

A scene from last year's advert
Only 5% of cases were recorded as a crime
In the Grampian Police area, officers attended 4,023 incidents during the eight months. More than 81% (3,267), were recorded as crimes.

Chief Inspector Maureen Brown, head of Grampian's community development department, said not all incidents were reported to the fiscal.

"This is often because of the specific wishes of the victim or because of a lack of evidence.

"Where this happens, a network of support will be offered to the victim, ranging from referral to Women's Aid to Victim Support or advice on their options," she added.

Scottish Women's Aid contrasted the figure of 26,000 incidents with the 58,000 calls it took in the last year.

A spokeswoman said the official figures were just the tip of the iceberg.

Last year the Scottish Executive established the Domestic Abuse Service Development Fund - which stands at 3m - to help long-term initiatives.

But the Scottish National Party's Nicola Sturgeon criticised the level of aid to groups which help domestic abuse victims.

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See also:

20 Jan 00 | Scotland
Wallace outlines family law shake-up
25 Dec 99 | Scotland
SNP calls for domestic abuse cash
24 Dec 99 | Scotland
Domestic abuse strategy questioned
22 Dec 99 | Scotland
New phase in anti-abuse campaign
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