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Increased reporting of domestic violence cases was a welcome sign says Scottish Border police

Date: (15 February 2013)    |    

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The increase in reporting of domestic violence incidents has been welcomed by the Scottish Borders police
A total of 720 incidents of domestic violence were reported to local police between April and December last year compared to 620 to the same period in 2011.
Referrals to the local domestic violence service also increased, from 20 in the last nine months of 2011 to 136 between April and December last year.
The figures were revealed at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s police, fire and rescue, and Safer Communities pathfinder board on Friday.
Superintendent Andrew Allan, local area commander, stated in his report to the meeting that more victims of domestic violence were taking up the DAAS (Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support) referral scheme and were engaging more with police and partner agencies and showing more confidence in reporting crimes of this nature. With increase in crimes of domestic violence and repeat victimisation it was a positive step he added.
Supt Allan later told TheSouthern that the Pathway project, of which the advocacy support service was a part, has proved so successful that the workload is four times what was expected when the project was established in September last year.
He added that the ‘ground-breaking’ scheme was now attracting a number of self-referrals and was being examined with a view to it being introduced across the country.
The multi-agency project, designed to support adult and child victims of domestic violence, secured £1.2 million worth of funding from the Scottish Government, the BIG Lottery Fund and other partner agencies.
Though the project has increased the level of specialist support to victims and their children, such as legal advice, it also focuses on prevention.
Andrea Beavon, the violence against women and domestic abuse co-ordinator at Scottish Borders Council, said this was not about more people being abused, but about more people coming forward to report it.
She added that the Pathway project had provided confidence to the victims who now believe that they were being treated with respect and with a focus on their safety.
Self-referrals were really good litmus test for the impact and reach the project has she added, it was a welcome sign to see such self-referrals go up and up she concluded.