A sharp rise in the number of domestic abuse reports relating to women targeting men has sparked concern among authorities in Fife.
Agencies in the region are probing if lockdown restrictions have contributed to the spike in cases of male victims and female perpetrators.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed there were 299 instances between April and July this year, an almost 36% increase on the 220 cases recorded in the same period of 2019.
The figures show the number of domestic abuse attacks by women on men in Fife reached its highest ever level, 84, in May 2020 – almost three per day on average.
In Tayside there were 179 similar cases between April and July, up from from 171 last year, although June’s tally of 60 reports was almost double the 31 recorded just two months previously.
A spokesperson for Police Scotland stressed that domestic abuse of any kind will not be tolerated.
“Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Police Scotland and we are committed to working with our partners to reduce the harm it causes and ultimately eradicate it,” they added.
“Domestic abuse is a despicable and debilitating crime which affects all of our communities and has no respect for ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.
“Police Scotland will proactively target perpetrators and support victims to prevent domestic abuse from damaging the lives of victims and their families.”
Fife’s trend has prompted concern as figures for December, January, February and March stood at 56, 54, 43 and 56 respectively.
However, the four months that followed recorded tallies of 72, 84, 70 and 73 which were markedly up on the normal averages.
A spokesperson for Fife-based charity Saje Scotland has urged all domestic abuse victims to seek help, regardless of gender.
“We recognise that men can also be victims of domestic abuse – both in heterosexual and gay relationships,” the spokesperson added.
“We believe that everyone has the right to live in safety, free from fear – regardless of their gender.
“All support agencies in Fife, with the exception of Women’s Aid, support women and men.
“Asking for help as an abused man can be hard.
“You may feel no-one can help or that no-one will take you seriously. You may feel ashamed about what is happening or feel as if you deserve it. You may be worried that others will think you are weak or less of a man for ‘allowing’ yourself to be abused.
“No-one deserves to be abused by the person they love.”