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Last week Health Secretary Alex Neil revealed that the number of reported domestic abuse incidents in Scotland rose to nearly 60,000 in 2011-2012 – a seven per cent increase from 2010-2011.

In response to the figures, the Scottish Government has committed to spending around £34 million over the next three years towards tackling the issue.

In Fife the figure showed an even greater rise from 3855 to 4500, a leap of more than 16 per cent, and that was only the ones which were reported.

Fife Women’s Aid, which works across the region to support women, children and young people suffering from domestic abuse, will hold its AGM with a public awareness raising session on Tuesday (November 13) in St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy, from 12.30-2.00 p.m.

A White Ribbon Campaign speaker will give a talk at the event and any interested members of the public who would like to attend this event will be very welcome. The White Ribbon Scotland Campaign encourages men to pledge their support against domestic abuse.

Ruth Thomson, general manager with Fife Women’s Aid, says more needs to be done locally to tackle the growing problem.

“On average a report of domestic abuse is made every 10 minutes in Scotland and we know that one in five women in Scotland will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime,” she said.

“Last year in Fife, reported incidences of domestic abuse increased to over 4500, however we know that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Domestic abuse remains a largely hidden and under-reported crime which blights the lives of thousands of people in our local communities.

The statistics released by Scottish Government last week demonstrate that there is much still to be done at both local and national levels. It is also significant that reports show that 62 per cent of cases in this year involved individuals who had experienced domestic abuse in the past. This supports the view of partner agencies, here in Fife, that as well as providing direct support service for victims, bringing perpetrators to account is a critical factor in reducing domestic abuse and keeping families safe.

“Women’s Aid, the Police, justice services, Fife Council, NHS Fife and other voluntary sector groups are all working closely together and will continue to prioritise these crucial areas of work.

“It is our view that the significant increase in reported incidents of domestic abuse this year is a reflection of an increased willingness in victims to come forward. We know how difficult this can be and victims need to be reassured that their case will be treated seriously.

“Everyone in our communities can play a part in eradicating domestic abuse in Fife and this year in particular we would appeal to men to think about how they can become involved. We know the majority of men in Scotland are not violent towards women, but many may simply ignore the problem or see it as something which has nothing to do with them.”

For support on issues around domestic abuse call the free helpline on: 0808 802555.