Calls to domestic abuse and forced marriage hotline 'rise by 25%'

The majority of people got in touch with Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (SDAFMH) to discuss domestic abuse, either current or historic. Picture: Laura Dodsworth
The majority of people got in touch with Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (SDAFMH) to discuss domestic abuse, either current or historic. Picture: Laura Dodsworth
Share this article
0
Have your say

Calls to a domestic abuse and forced marriage hotline have risen 25 per cent in the past year.

The helpline, managed by Scottish Women's Aid, dealt with 3,191 requests for assistance, including email contacts, in 2019 - 637 more than in 2018.

The majority of people got in touch with Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (SDAFMH) to discuss domestic abuse, either current or historic.

There were also 27 calls about forced marriage, the same number as last year.

More than nine in 10 (95 per cent) calls were from women or from someone calling on behalf of a woman while 5 per cent of calls were from men or someone calling on behalf of a man.

• READ MORE: Domestic violence killings in UK surge to five-year high
Helpline manager Lydia Okroj said: "This has been the busiest and most challenging but by far the most rewarding, year of managing SDAFMH.

"As well as responding to a significant rise in call volume, we were successful in our bid to the Scottish Government for the contract to provide the helpline for the next five years and in our application for the Helplines Standards Accreditation.

"Both of these achievements speak to the quality of support provided by helpline staff and I am confident that anyone who calls will receive the best possible service."

She added: "For those experiencing domestic abuse or forced marriage, we are often the first point of contact after a long time building up the courage to speak out.

"It is a privilege to be that person on the other end of the phone, listening non-judgmentally and offering expert information and support.

"I am incredibly proud of the team, who have worked so hard over the past year, and look forward to continuing to develop our service in partnership with like-minded organisations in the year ahead."

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of people got in touch to seek emotional support, while other reasons for contacting the helpline included to talk about safety planning, find out about Women's Aid services and ask questions about domestic abuse.

Child contact issues remained the main legal issue callers were concerned about, with many reporting that child contact was being used as a way to further control those who have experienced domestic abuse.

The majority of contacts came from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The figures were contained in the helpline's annual report, published on Monday.

The helpline provides confidential support 24/7, 365 days a year via phone or email to anyone with experience of domestic abuse or forced marriage, as well as family members, friends, colleagues and the professionals who support them.

The free phone number is 0800 027 1234 and the email address for support is helpline@sdafmh.org.uk.