Domestic Abuse Against Men

Hbos – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 13th November 2008.

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Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative 12:00 pm, 13th November 2008

To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government intends to take following the publication of figures showing that domestic abuse against men has increased by 110 per cent since 1999. (S3F-1176)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government recognises that domestic abuse is always wrong, regardless of gender. The Government is committed to tackling domestic abuse and ensuring that all those who are affected by it are given the support that they need and that those who perpetrate it are dealt with effectively.

The Scottish Government's approach to tackling domestic abuse is based on evidence that has been gathered over several decades in Scotland, in the rest of the UK and internationally, which tells us that women are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, both in its severity and in its sustained nature. That is why we target resources and work with partners to develop services as we do.

Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative

Although it acknowledges the fact that the majority of domestic abuse cases involve male abuse of females, Home Office and British crime survey research has repeatedly found that men are much less likely to report violent domestic abuse. Given that the Welsh Assembly now funds a project that provides services that are appropriate for men and same-sex couples, will the Government ensure that all the victims of violent domestic abuse and the children who witness it are given the same support?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Yes, the support should be given regardless of gender. I am glad that Mary Scanlon acknowledged in her introduction that the evidence base shows that the vast majority of domestic violence cases—which are deplorable whoever they affect—affect women. Women are victims in the vast majority of such cases. However, we will keep the situation under review. Mary Scanlon will be interested to know that the new statistics for 2007-08 are due for publication on Tuesday 25 November, after which she may want to return to the issue.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

We started late, so I will take a brief supplementary from Ian McKee.

Photo of Ian McKee Ian McKee Scottish National Party

Will the First Minister broaden his comments to include elder abuse, which is an underreported and serious social problem?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government recognises that elder abuse is a sad reality that is too often hidden. However, the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, which became law on 29 October, just a few weeks ago, puts in place modern and strengthened measures to afford greater protection to those adults in Scotland who are most at risk of harm.

Meeting suspended until 14:15.

On resuming—