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The SPF’s views on matters which affect police officers and the Police Service of Scotland.

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13th March, 2014
Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse – It’s what we do

Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse – It’s what we do

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Police Officers dealt with over 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland last year, 2/3rds of which related to repeat victims. Half of all female homicide victims in Scotland are killed by either a partner or ex-partner.

Against these stark headlines it is easy to understand why police officers treat incidents of domestic violence so seriously.

No two domestic incidents are the same; some involve children, some alcohol, some other partners and some none of these. But all incidents have a profound impact on the victims. Abusers have no regard for those they abuse, those they humiliate, those they threaten and those they beat. Many abusers rely on the shame of victims to continue their behaviour and we see all too often the loss of dignity victims feel at not being safe in the one place one place they should feel safest – their own homes.

There is no stereotypical domestic abuser. Domestic abuse does not discriminate. It exits in same sex and heterosexual relationships; it exists across all age bands. It is not confined to any racial or social group and professionals with high public standing in leafy suburbs are as likely to be abusers as someone unemployed and living in a densely populated housing estate.

There used to be a belief police officers would be dismissive of “just another domestic” and whilst in the past such incidents may have been regarded as such that belief no longer has a basis in reality. We work closely with many support organisations and whilst we cannot make decisions on behalf of victims we can make sure victims are given as much support, advice and assistance as necessary to help them make their own decisions.

Most importantly we listen – we listen to what it is victims want.

There is no shame in being a victim of domestic abuse. Every police officer knows that. We want none of our citizens to live in fear and we work tirelessly with others to make sure we can make this happen. #itswhatwedo

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