Domestic abuse charity encounters 17,000 new cases each year

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13th December 2016 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Tens of thousands of new domestic abuse cases are encountered by a charity every year, a survey has shown.

Scottish Women’s Aid researchers said that on one day in 2016, 66 women and 20 children reached out to the charity for the first time.

This figure equates to over 17,000 new cases annually, although researchers warned this number was likely to be a “conservative” estimate.

On the same day, 366 women and 351 children and young people were living in a Women’s Aid refuge.

However, refuge was not available for 46% of those who sought it because of a lack of safe and suitable accommodation.

In many cases, friends or local groups were able to step in to provide support. But the charity said at least three women - and their five children - ended up staying at home with their abusive partner.

Scottish Women’s Aid said the figures, gathered during its annual census, starkly demonstrate the continued need for specialist domestic abuse services.

Researcher Cheryl Sutherland said: "These figures highlight the ongoing need for the specialist support Women’s Aid can provide to each individual woman, child and young person who experiences domestic abuse.

“In just one day, we met the individual needs of 1,301 women and children by offering a range of information, emotional and practical support.

"This snapshot survey shows that Women’s Aid groups throughout Scotland continue to provide non-judgemental support and assistance in a variety of different ways - in person in refuge, by telephone and out in the community.”

Marsha Scott, the charity’s chief executive, added: “As Scotland heads into a further period of economic instability with cuts to social security and local services, the presence of a stable, robust, and properly funded Women’s Aid service is what stands between so many women and children experiencing domestic abuse and homelessness, destitution and powerlessness.”

The full findings of the census, which took place on Wednesday, 28 September, are available on the Scottish Women's Aid website