Police in Angus warn rising domestic abuse cases could be tip of the iceberg

© PA

Reports of domestic abuse in Angus have risen by 6.6%, according to the latest police figures.

The number of cases increased from 610 between April-December 2016 to 650 during the same period last year.

Police say they fear the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg and some victims are suffering in silence for years before coming forward.

Chief Superintendent Graeme Murdoch said a woman will be the victim of 22 crimes on average before she reports abuse to the police.

The figures were contained in Mr Murdoch’s police report for April-December 2017, which was presented to Angus Council’s scrutiny and audit committee in Forfar on Tuesday.

He said police had been actively encouraging victims to come forward and this was likely to be an explanation for the rise.

Officers are also working with Angus Violence Against Women Partnership and other partners through the Safe and Together programme, which aims to tackle domestic abuse as part of the government’s Equally Safe strategy.


Mr Murdoch said recent announcements on the Domestic Abuse Bill covering aspects such as “coercive control” would also support work with victims.

“As a partnership and community, if we get this work right, there will be a continued rise in reported incidents including historical reports,” he said.

“A similar rise in sexual crimes can also be anticipated and this is reflected in the 35.5% increase in reported incidents; 248 for this period compared to 183 for the same period last year, an additional 65 victims.”

Mr Murdoch said theft by housebreaking had increased slightly, from 165 crimes last year to 167 in this reporting period.

The total breaks down to 63 dwelling houses and 104 others.

A total of 103 of the crimes were from the first two quarters of the year.

He said officers were continuing to carry out patrols to deter offenders and provide reassurance to communities.

The overall number of crimes of dishonesty in Angus rose from 1,036 last year to 1,138.

The single biggest contributor was an increase in shoplifting from 282 cases to 374.

However, despite the increase, overall levels were still below the five-year average of 385.6.

Mr Murdoch said: “Crime prevention work continues with retail premises led by our dedicated community officers.

“In addition; repeat perpetrators were actively targeted, some receiving specific support from partners to lift them out of their chaotic lifestyles.”