Calendar opens doors on abuse

AN ONLINE advent calendar highlighting the annual increase in domestic abuse cases over the festive period was launched yesterday.

Christmas and New Year are peak times for violence in the home, according to Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Behind each door of the virtual calendar is a statistic or fact relating to the crime.

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For example, it will take an average of 35 incidents of abuse before a victim contacts the police.

And 28 per cent of victims report that their partner had prevented them from seeing friends and relatives.

The calendar also highlights what the police and government are doing to tackle domestic abuse. Police no longer need a statement to make an arrest and a recent change in the law has created a new offence of "engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour", giving victims greater protection.

Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, who is leading the VRU's campaign, said: "Sadly, Christmas and New Year are peak periods for domestic abuse.

"We wanted to highlight this and raise awareness of the fact that, for many victims, domestic abuse isn't just a one-off event; it's something that happens day in, day out.

"We know from past experience there will be people out there for whom this Christmas will not be a happy time.

"Often it will not just be the victim that suffers either - children living in households where there is domestic abuse are at risk, too.

Chief Inspector Goulden went on: "This kind of behaviour devastates families, and will not be tolerated in 21st-century Scotland.

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"If we have evidence of violence or threatening behaviour, we'll arrest you immediately.

"If you've left the scene, we'll come looking for you.

"We will tackle domestic abuse wherever and whenever it occurs."

To view the advent calendar, go to http://advent.actiononviolence.com.