Over the past 8 years police in Scotland have dramatically changed the way in which we deal with cases involving domestic abuse.
As a result this issue is now a priority for Police Scotland and we have adopted a standardised approach in dealing with it.
While for most people the festive period is a happy time there are families where the added stresses and strains can cause underlying tensions to bubble up and come to the surface resulting in officers having to deal with domestic abuse.
From a policing perspective we see domestic abuse in all sections of our communities, and it is found in all types of relationships between partners and ex-partners. Our officers deal with people across a wide range of backgrounds with abusers and victims both male or female and of any race or religion.
There is a common misconception that domestic abuse is just physical abuse.This is not the case. As well as being physical, it can be sexual, emotional or mental abuse. The important factor for us is that it must be between partners whether married, co-habiting, in a civil partnership or between former partners.
In dealing with such issues it is our aim to provide a professional, sensitive and consistent approach which will see us ensuring that the victim and their families are safe before instigating a thorough investigation.
This will encompass not only the initial incident but also historic incidents which come to light. This is also followed up by ensuring that victims are given information and advice in relation to other forms of support available.
When it comes to the alleged offenders we actively pursue them and ensure that every possible investigative avenue is exhausted in order they can be held accountable for their actions through the criminal justice system.
In order to support those wishing to report domestic abuse to us we have developed some innovative initiatives.
As well as being able to use to the usual 101 and 999 numbers or attend at a police office we now facilitate both third party and remote reporting of domestic abuse.
Remote reporting can be done at specific remote sites details of which can be found on the Police Scotland web page: www.scotland.police.uk.
In the event that a witness is unable to attend a remote reporting site or local office there is also an internet reporting form located on our web page at: https://www.scotland.police.uk/secureforms/domestic-abuse/
To support officers on the frontline each division also has its own specialised domestic abuse unit, staffed by a mixture of both plain clothes and uniform officers.
Not only do these units provide advice and guidance but they also take on many of the more complex enquiries which regularly cross divisional boundaries.
Through all of the above we aim to support the victims of domestic abuse and also to encourage those who witness it to come forward.
We want the public to know that it simply will not be tolerated at any time of the year, despite the fact that reported cases are higher throughout the festive season.
Police Scotland are here to are help, there is no longer a need to suffer in silence.