Lockdown sees more seek information on ‘abusive’ partners

Police Scotland say the number of people seeking details about their partner's past behaviour has risen by nearly a fifth.

Lockdown sees more seek information on ‘abusive’ partners SNS
Domestic abuse disclosure requests are on the rise.

The number of people seeking information about whether their partner has been abusive in the past has risen by nearly a fifth since lockdown measures were introduced last month.

Nearly 260 requests for disclosure were made between the start of lockdown on March 23 and April 27, compared to 219 in 2019.

The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland allows people to make inquiries about their partner if they are worried they have been abusive in the past.

Police will consider sharing information if checks show your partner has a record of violent behaviour, or there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner.

Requests under the scheme, operated by Police Scotland, have increased by 18 percent since lockdown began.

The majority of requests are being made by police officers and other professionals (including social workers and NHS staff) raising a concern about someone they think may be at risk of domestic abuse.

Police Scotland then makes a decision about whether to make a disclosure.

“Domestic abuse is an ongoing threat in our local communities and there remains an increased risk as people continue to observe isolation and physical distancing guidance.”

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan Sloan, lead for Major Crime and Public Protection at Police Scotland

Assistant chief constable Duncan Sloan, lead for major crime and public protection at Police Scotland, said: “Domestic abuse is an ongoing threat in our local communities and there remains an increased risk as people continue to observe isolation and physical distancing guidance.

“Police Scotland will not tolerate domestic abuse, tackling it and preventing it is a priority for us and that has not changed because of Covid-19.

“Domestic abuse is seldom a one-off. People who abuse are likely to do so again and again,” he added.

In the 12 months to March 31, Police Scotland received 2648 requests for disclosure, a 66 percent increase on the same period in 2018/19 (1596 applications).

During the same period, more than 1200 disclosures were made to people indicating that their partner had an abusive past. This represents a 40 percent increase on the same period the previous year (865 disclosures).

ACC Sloan said: “Domestic abuse is about power and control. It can be physical or sexual, but it can include verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. Offenders seek to frighten, humiliate and isolate victims from those who can offer them support.

“Survivors of abuse tell us that isolation is a tactic perpetrators use to restrict their opportunities to seek help and support from friends and families, via websites or through social media,” he added.

If you are being abused or know anyone at risk of abuse, please contact Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Or if you need support please contact Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234, where support is available 24/7.