By Bill Heaney
New statistics show that domestic abuse crimes are at the second worst ever level in Scotland.
The latest figures, published today by the Scottish Government, show that domestic abuse cases remained extremely high at 64,807 incidents a year, a fall of just 1 per cent on the previous year.
They also reveal that 64 per cent of cases were repeat offences, including a victim and suspected criminal who had previously been recorded in a domestic abuse incident.
West Dunbartonshire has one of the worst records in the country for domestic abuse.
Scottish Conservative MSP Pam Gosal, pictured right, who is bringing forward a bill in the Scottish Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, said the “shocking” figures were “clear evidence that the government must act”.
Ms Gosal urged the government and MSPs of all parties to back her Domestic Abuse Register Bill proposal.
The West of Scotland MSP is seeking to pass a bill that would introduce a domestic abuse register, similar to the sex offenders’ register.
More than 91 per cent of people and organisations who responded to the consultation for the bill proposal were supportive, with 86 per cent of all respondents saying they were “fully supportive”.
In total, 23 organisations have voiced support for the introduction of Pam Gosal’s Domestic Abuse Register Bill at Holyrood.
Pam Gosal said:“These shocking new figures are clear evidence that the government must act. It is appalling that so many domestic abuse cases include repeat offenders who keep committing this horrific act again and again.
“Behind every one of these figures is a victim who has suffered despicable acts including physical violence and emotional manipulation. We cannot stand by and let this continue to happen.
“My proposal for a Domestic Abuse Register Bill would help to support victims and prevent criminals from committing these awful offences in the first place.
“I urge MSPs from all parties, especially those in government, to consider supporting my bill proposal so we can end the scourge of domestic abuse.”
Ahead of the debate in the Scottish Parliament on violence against women and girls, Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to make “every possible endeavour” to end men’s violence against women and girls.
Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling on the Scottish Government to establish a national commission that would bring together charities and experts on gender-based violence to better inform policy in this area. So far, ministers have not taken these proposals forward.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, Beatrice Wishart and Wendy Chamberlain MP.
Over the weekend, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton also wrote to the First Minister, asking if she would review the case of Adrienne McCartney, a victim of domestic violence who died by suicide after reporting her case to police and prosecutors.
Ms Wishart said: “The bleak but unavoidable reality is that Scotland is not doing enough to protect its women and girls.
“Up and down this country, women and girls suffer violence at the hands of men, violence which is underpinned by everyday sexist and misogynistic attitudes. We all have a duty to call this out.
“Following Sarah Everard’s murder in 2021, Liberal Democrats repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to create a commission to look at all aspects of preventing men’s violence against women and girls. Since then, the government has made little progress.
“If the government won’t tackle this issue head-on, Scottish Liberal Democrats will. Our party’s deputy leader, Wendy Chamberlain MP, will be leading a policy commission on men’s violence. As the only former female police officer in the House of Commons, Wendy is well placed to lead this work within our party and to make recommendations for how we can improve policy.
“We owe it to the memory of Adrienne McCartney, Louise Aitchison, Sarah Everard and the many other victims of men’s violence to act now.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton added: “Establishing a specific commission to eradicate gender-based violence is a fundamental step in the right direction.
“Women and girls are tired of sympathetic platitudes that rarely translate into action. We need long-term, robust solutions.
“I want to see a huge cross-party effort in the Scottish Parliament which will develop a successful strategy to end gender-based violence. Women and girls cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Top picture is of Professor Alexis Jay, formerly of Dumbarton, leading an inquiry into domestic abuse.