7,500 people told of partner’s abusive past

Wednesday December 22nd 2021

Midlothian-Police-Scotland


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

More than 7,500 people have been told of a partner’s abusive past since the launch of a scheme six years ago to help tackle domestic abuse.

Police Scotland’s Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland (DSDAS) was launched in October 2015 following a successful trial in Ayrshire and Aberdeen, and since then has received over 13,000 requests to ask about the background of a partner.

Of the 13,334 requests received, 7,530 people (56 per cent) were told that their current partner has a violent or abusive past.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Faulds, Head of Public Protection, said: “Behind the numbers are people who have either escaped becoming victims of domestic abuse, or who are now aware of their partner’s abusive past.

“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.

“DSDAS provides that first step. It can help prevent domestic abuse and the long term damage it can cause victims, their families and their children.

“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.

“The scheme exists not just for those who may be at risk but for their friends or families to use too.

“Each year reports of domestic abuse increase over the festive period. This year we are acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on victims locked in with the person responsible for their abuse.

“So this festive season we are appealing to friends, family, colleagues and neighbours or anyone who sees something to call it out if they are concerned that someone may be a victim of domestic abuse. Get in touch with us and we will make sure that person is ok and we will investigate the circumstances.

“All it takes is one person to alert us and we can help end the threat and harm caused by domestic abuse.”

Dr. Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid said: “Survivors of domestic abuse face so many barriers to seeking support, and for loved ones it can be challenging finding the best way to support them safely. Providing a tool like the disclosure scheme that can inform survivors or their loved ones of previous abusive behaviour, could help in preventing harm to women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. If you are worried about someone you know, we want to remind you that our helpline is available 24/7 for confidential advice.”

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, comments: “We fully support Police Scotland’s campaign, and hope this encourages people who have experienced domestic abuse to realise that they are not alone.

“With reports of domestic abuse increasing in Scotland, it is important to recognise the long-term trauma that domestic abuse can cause.

“Almost 90% of domestic abuse victims experience financial and coercive control. Our Victims’ Fund has helped hundreds of people in these situations purchase, for example, security systems, furniture for temporary housing, and household essentials. For many this is providing a lifeline.

“Victim Support Scotland provides confidential and emotional support to help empower anyone who may find themselves a victim of domestic abuse, going some way to give people the confidence to take back control of their lives.”

If you, or anyone you know, are being abused or are 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.

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