Domestic abuse victims among those likely to experience repeated violence

Victims of violent domestic abuse often suffer repeated attacks, the latest report reveals. Picture: Getty
Victims of violent domestic abuse often suffer repeated attacks, the latest report reveals. Picture: Getty

Women who suffer domestic abuse are likely to be key to understanding why a small part of the population have multiple experiences of ­violence.

A Scottish Government review said domestic violence was an “important component” of repeat violent victimisation (RVV).

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Figures published last week showed that just 0.7 per cent of the population experience 59 per cent of all violent crime, with those living in the most deprived areas almost twice as likely to be victims of violence than people living elsewhere.

These repeat victims are estimated to have experienced an average of three violent crimes each during 2017-18.

A review of existing research published yesterday by the Scottish Government said studies had shown that more than 30 per cent of domestic abuse victims suffered more than one incident within a 12-month period.

However, it was young working-class men who were most likely to be repeat victims of crime overall.

The review said that despite a wealth of research, there was less evidence of “what works” to reduce repeated violence.

It added: “Despite these gaps, there is evidence to suggest that a substantial portion of the remaining violence in Scotland may be explained by the fact that certain individuals experience multiple incidences of violence, which contributes disproportionately to the overall violent crime count.”

Commenting on the publication of the review, justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We saw last week with the publication of our Crime and Justice Survey that violent crime has reduced by nearly half in the last decade, but we are not complacent and will continue to work to reduce this further.

“We are determined to root out persistent violence where it exists and I welcome this report which will help us – working with police, local authorities and others – to determine how best to further reduce violence, with fewer victims and still safer communities.”

Last week’s annual Scottish Crime and Justice Survey estimated that just over a third of incidents were reported to police, with 23 per cent of victims reporting forced sexual intercourse. A fifth of women experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since the age of 16, with those in the most deprived areas more likely to have been victims.

Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “There is ample research evidence about the repeat victimisation of women and children in domestic abuse cases, and we welcome recognition of their experiences in this review. We know that this revictimisation historically has reflected the failure to consider abuse by a partner or ex-partner as a crime – instead it was ‘just a domestic’.

“Scotland has now expanded the definition of domestic abuse to include psychological and emotional abuse, and the overlap of physical violence and other controlling and abusive behaviours will be evident in court prosecutions.

“We think the new law has the potential to reduce re-victimisation, as police and courts now have the tools they need to hold perpetrators accountable for the range of tactics they use to maintain control over their families.”