Domestic abuse in over 50% child protection cases

Domestic abuse figures have risen steadily in Scotland, largely due to a more robust approach by police. Picture: Getty
Domestic abuse figures have risen steadily in Scotland, largely due to a more robust approach by police. Picture: Getty
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MORE than half of child protection cases in the Capital involve domestic abuse, new figures have revealed.

 The city’s annual social work review said there were a total of 5476 reports of domestic abuse last year – equal to 15 incidents every day – up from 5335 in 2012/13.

More than 2500 of the incidents involved children.

Domestic abuse also made up approximately a third of the 9600 concerns about children, which were reported to Social Care Direct.

And the report said: “An audit of the Child Protection Register on a single day identified domestic abuse in over 50 per cent of the registrations.”

Domestic abuse was also the single biggest reason given for homelessness among women aged 18-59.

Lily Greenan, manager of Scottish Women’s Aid, said more was being done to identify domestic abuse, but there was less funding to tackle the problem properly.

She said: “We need to spend some resources now and implement a more holistic approach so as to reap the long-term benefits.”

Domestic abuse figures have steadily risen across Scotland in recent years. Police Scotland recorded 60,080 incidents in 2012-13, up from 59,847 in the previous year. The rise is largely attributed to a more robust approach taken towards abusers.

Last year in Edinburgh, this resulted in around 3300 children and family cases being managed by “practice teams”, approximately 1600 child-protection referrals and 231 reports completed for children’s hearings.

NSPCC Scotland’s national head of services, Matt Forde, acknowledged the need for further investment and said: “Every year, thousands of children across Scotland are the hidden victims of domestic abuse. Many of them witness appalling scenes of violence and in some cases suffer injuries themselves. In two out of three cases of child death or serious injury, domestic abuse is a factor so it’s an issue that needs urgent attention.

“Victims of domestic abuse need timely support. Reaching children before they begin to act out their trauma by harming themselves, their families and their local communities is the only way to break the downward spiral of violence.”

City health and social care convener Councillor Ricky Henderson said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for us and lots of multi-agency work with the police and other organisations goes on regularly to ensure that we protect and support victims and communities, and challenge perpetrators.”

The social work review also says savings required from the budget are expected to increase from £7.5m to £21.7m for 2015/16 and £52.5m for 2016/17.

Chief social work officer Michelle Miller warned: “It is difficult to see how budget reductions on this scale can be delivered by efficiencies alone over the next few years, without the need for service reductions.”