A MSP has expressed her concerns over the rise in domestic abuse incidents in South Ayrshire.

In 2020/21, there were 1,271 recorded incidents of domestic abuse, nearly a 26 per cent increase from 2016/17 figures.

Nationally, the figures have increased by 11 per cent since 2016/17.

And South Scotland Conservative List MSP, Sharon Dowey, has accused the Scottish Government of not doing enough to tackle the issue.

She wants to see more "viable alternatives" for victims.

She said: “One of many unfortunate consequences of the pandemic was that individuals were forced to stay at home, potentially with their abusive partners.

“This isn’t all due to the pandemic as these numbers have been increasing for the past five years. I find that very concerning.

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“People experiencing domestic abuse must be provided with viable alternatives to change their lives around and get out of an abusive household.

“The Scottish Government has to start taking this issue seriously and stop hiding behind the effects of the pandemic.

MSP Sharon Dowey
MSP Sharon Dowey

“Victims can’t wait any longer. We need the Scottish Government to step up and tackle this issue.”

Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament backed the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill, giving more powers to police and courts to protect people at risk.

The Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill enables police and courts to ban suspected abusers from re-entering the home and from approaching or contacting the person at risk for a period of time to enable them to consider their longer-term options around safety and housing.

The Bill also allows social landlords to end or transfer the tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse to the victim.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Keith Brown, said: “The new offence of domestic abuse has been heralded as gold-standard legislation in strengthening the law against those who undertake a course of abusive behaviour, including both physical and psychological abuse, and we have been clear that we want to see all incidents of domestic abuse reported.

“Last year we provided more than £5.75 million in additional funding for frontline services supporting women and children experiencing, or at risk of, violence or abuse, to help respond to an increase in demand during the pandemic.”

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