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Government figures highlight partner abuse

20 December 2011

16% of adults who have had at least one partner since the age of 16 have experienced partner abuse in that time, according to new figures from Scotland’s chief statistician. In a report looking specifically at abuse perpetrated by partners or ex-partners, it was also revealed that 3% of adults who had a partner or were in contact with an ex-partner in the last 12 months suffered abuse at their hands, with those in the 16-24 age group at most risk.

Partner abuse measured by the report includes psychological and physical forms of abuse. Common forms of psychological abuse include a partner behaving in a jealous or controlling way (9% of adults had experienced this since the age of 16); repeatedly putting the victim down so they felt worthless (7%); threatening to hurt the victim (5%) or stopping the victim from seeing friends or relatives (5%).

Worryingly, only 29% of adults who experienced physical abuse in the last 12 months considered what happened on the most recent occasion to be a crime, 23% said it was wrong but not a crime and 24% said their experience was just something that happens.

29% did not tell anyone about the most recent incident of partner abuse experienced in the last 12 months, while 17% said the police had been made aware. 60% of victims were satisfied with the way the police dealt with the most recent incident.

Commenting on the launch of the report, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Domestic abuse is completely unacceptable and the Scottish Government continues to work with key partners to bring about an end to this intolerable crime.

“In particular, we have committed £55 million to tackling violence against women, including domestic abuse during 2008-12, and we have also introduced a ground breaking phone helpline for male victims of domestic abuse.

“Last year we also introduced a new offence of 'engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour' to give greater protection to victims of domestic abuse, and send out the message, ‘if you carry out this offence you will be met with by the full force of law’.”

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