‘Around 30 domestic abuse incidents a day in Edinburgh and Lothians’

The figures from Edinburgh and the Lothians rose by 6% in comparison with last year.

‘Around 30 domestic abuse incidents a day in Edinburgh and Lothians’ Getty Images

Calls made to Police Scotland about domestic abuse rose this year in Edinburgh and the Lothians – with around 30 made per day.

In the past year numbers rose to 11,006, an increase of 6% on 10,349 incidents in 2019/20.

Scottish Women’s Aid warned the number is expected to be even greater but terrified victims are often too traumatised or controlled by their spouse to call for help.

That is equivalent to more than 30 incidents every day and reflected an overall record rise across Scotland.

The vast majority of reports came from women abused in their own homes.

Officers at specialist domestic violence units said they were prepared for a surge in cases over Christmas.

But the figures sparked warnings that more needs to be done to “get serious about eliminating the causes” of soaring levels of domestic abuse, amid fears the pandemic has meant victims believe it won’t help them to report violence to police.

Lothians MSP Miles Briggs demanded action and branded the figures “completely unacceptable”, after Edinburgh saw the biggest rise in Lothians – up from 5575 to 5912.

Scottish Women’s Aid said most victims don’t report their plight to police, so the figures represent only a fraction of the abuse happening in families and communities.

The charity backed fresh calls for specialist virtual courts which would deal specifically with domestic abuse and family violence.

It comes as courts grapple with a backlog of 40,000 cases which support organisations warn can result in further trauma and prolonged abuse for victims.

Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s, Aid said: “These statistics about domestic abuse are no surprise to us, unfortunately, and the huge backlog of cases in Scotland’s courts because of Covid just multiply the harm and trauma done by abusers.

“Scotland needs to do the hard things that matter and get serious about eliminating the causes of domestic abuse.

“Despite having passed the world’s gold standard domestic abuse law, Scotland will continue to see these shocking figures until we tackle causes alongside the symptoms.

“Children and women live in poverty in disproportionate numbers and are missing from offices of power from local authorities up to big business boards.

“Women’s unfair share of unpaid care work, of low-paid jobs and expensive childcare, combined with our invisibility in local and national economic policies, these nurture domestic abuse and abusive men’s ideas that they are entitled to control and abuse.

“We know from research men with traditional gender role beliefs have a higher tolerance for violence against women, we need to challenge these ideas everywhere.

“It will be a sign that we have transformed when stigma is felt by the abuser and not by the victim. Victim blaming is still so deeply embedded in our culture.

“We need to shift that balance of power.”

“It is long past time that Edinburgh and Scotland addressed the causes of domestic abuse and stopped playing around at the margins.”

Briggs added: “There is currently a significant issue with domestic violence in Scotland, which has only got worse over the pandemic.

“We urgently need to see action taken to address this completely unacceptable situation where domestic abuse is happening across Lothians.

“I am looking to organise a cross party summit at the Scottish Parliament to discuss these proposals.”

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