More than 7500 people told of partner’s abusive past through scheme

More than half of those who used the disclosure programme were told about the violent history of the person they were with.

More than 7500 people told of partner’s abusive past through scheme iStock
After trialling the scheme in Ayrshire and Aberdeen, Police Scotland rolled it out across the country on October 1, 2015.

More than 7500 people have had their partner’s violent or abusive past revealed to them since the launch of a programme to tackle domestic abuse.

If a person suspects their current partner may have an abusive past, they can use the disclosure scheme to request information from the police.

Requests can also be made by concerned family, a friend or a neighbour.

More than half of those who called were told about the violent or abusive history of the person they were with.

Behind the numbers are people who have escaped becoming victims of abuse or who are now aware of the histories of their partner, detective chief superintendent Sam Faulds said.

After trialling the scheme in Ayrshire and Aberdeen, Police Scotland rolled it out across the country on October 1, 2015.

Since then, more than 13,300 requests have been made, with 7530 (56%) responses revealing abusive pasts.

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The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland (DSDAS), police said, can help prevent domestic abuse and the long term damage it can cause victims, their families and their children by providing a first step to recognising the behaviour.

DCI Faulds, Police Scotland’s head of public protection, said: “Abusers manipulate and control their victims. Abuse can be gradual and it can be very difficult for victims of domestic abuse to recognise their situation and to then take action to get themselves out of it.

“People told about a partner’s past have the right to choose the course of action they wish to take, and practical support and advice is available from our partners.”

In 2021, the number of domestic abuse incidents in Scotland rose for the fifth year in a row.

Experts warned the coronavirus lockdown created opportunities for perpetrators to exert greater control.

Police said they were aware of victims being locked in with the person responsible for their abuse.

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Every year reports of domestic abuse increase over the festive period. Friends, family, colleagues and neighbours have been urged to raise the alarm by calling police if they are concerns someone may be the victim of domestic abuse.

“Get in touch with us and we will make sure that person is ok and we will investigate the circumstances,” DCI Faulds said.

Not all domestic abuse is physically violent. Almost 90% of victims experience financial and coercive control.

Organisations like Victim Support Scotland has helped hundreds of people buy security systems, furniture for temporary housing, and household essentials.

The charity’s chief executive Kate Wallace said it goes some way to giving those affected back control of their lives.

“We fully support Police Scotland’s campaign, and hope this encourages people who have experienced domestic abuse to realise that they are not alone,” she said.

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