Police have told hundreds of Lanarkshire residents about their partner’s abusive past

6th January, 2022 5:06 pm

Clare’s Law gives abusive partners nowhere to hide.

Nearly 1600 people in Lanarkshire have been told of a partner’s abusive past since the launch six years ago of a scheme to help tackle domestic abuse.

Police Scotland has received 2492 applications from people living in Lanarkshire who sought information under the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland (DSDAS) about the background of a partner.

Of those, 1586 were told that their current partner has a violent or abusive past.

DSDAS was launched in October 2015 following a successful trial in Ayrshire and Aberdeen, and since then has received 13,334 requests from across Scotland to ask about the background of a partner. Of those, 7,530 people (56 per cent) were told that their current partner has a violent or abusive past.

Supt Allan Burton said: “Officers in Lanarkshire, particularly the local domestic abuse safeguarding team, have been working closely with local partners and the local community to tackle domestic abuse and encourage those with concerns to report it. These figures demonstrate the work that the team has done to promote the DSDAS scheme and assist those at risk of harm in Lanarkshire.”

His comments follow a call this festive season from Police Scotland’s head of public protection to friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours to raise the alarm if they fear someone may be the victim of domestic abuse.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Faulds 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.”

Chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, Dr Marsha Scott, 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.”

And she appealed: “If you are worried about someone you know, we want to remind you that our helpline is available 24/7 for confidential advice.”

According to figures from Victim Support Scotland, almost 90 per cent of domestic abuse victims experience financial and coercive control.

The organisation’s Victims’ Fund has helped hundreds of people in that situation to purchase security systems, furniture for temporary housing and household essentials – a support mechanism that is, to many, a lifeline.

Anyone concerned their partner may have an abusive past can contact Police Scotland and request information on their partner’s background if they suspect them of a history of domestic abuse or violence. Each case is considered by a multi-agency panel to determine whether disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to protect the individual from their partner.

If you, or anyone you know, is being abused or are at risk of abuse, contact Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

If you need support, contact Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234, where support is available 24/7. Victim Support Scotland can be contacted on 0800 160 1985. Motherwell & District Women’s Aid can be contacted on 01698 321000.

 

Source: Daily Record, January 2022

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