Festive Domestic Abuse Campaign Underway

18 December 2015, 11:14 | Updated: 18 December 2015, 11:16

Police Scotland's campaign highlights emotional abuse, and how abusers control their victims through fear, intimidation and isolation.

Traditionally, a time for families, the festive season is also the peak season for domestic abuse, starting with the Friday before Christmas, when many people finish work.

This year's Love Doesn't Control campaign focuses on coercive control and domestic abuse which often takes the form of financial and emotional manipulation, personal freedom being restricted, insults, and/or being purposely isolated from family or friends.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams, Police Scotland, said:

''Domestic abuse can takes many forms and while most people are aware of the physical violence that is often carried out by abusers, there can also be mental and emotional abuse taking place behind closed doors. It is insidious and manipulative and is designed to destroy a victim's confidence and control their actions through fear of violent reprisal. This emotional abuse might be invisible, but the damage to victims is significant. Let me be clear - Police Scotland will not tolerate this horrific crime in any form.

''This week, domestic abuser Donnie Renfrew, was handed a 15 year sentence. Emotional abuse was one of the tactics he used to induce fear in his victims.

''Emotional abuse is domestic abuse, love doesn't control, and our message to those who abuse their partners either physically or emotionally is that there is no place to hide - we will find you.''

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

''Domestic abuse is something no-one should ever have to endure. The festive period is a time when families and loved ones should be coming together to celebrate and look after each other.

''However we know that the festive period can be an awful time for victims of domestic abuse. That’s why I firmly support the robust action that Police Scotland is taking to tackle this issue head-on and not only target offenders, but also provide a vital awareness-raising campaign to reach those who might not be victims of physical violence, but emotional and psychological abuse. These invisible scars are just as damaging.

''Collectively, Scotland is sending a strong message that domestic abuse in any form is unacceptable. Alongside this enforcement action, the Scottish Government has invested £20m across three years to tackle violence against women and girls, and we are seeking to strengthen the criminal law to ensure that psychological abuse is treated as seriously as physical. Put simply, there is no place for domestic abuse in our country.''

The campaign will run from today into the early New Year and includes outdoor advertising and social media activity. A radio advert is also scheduled to run from Thursday 24 December. To view the campaign visuals please go to: http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/domestic-abuse/

Additional officers will be out taking action this Friday (18 Dec) to prevent domestic abuse, including contacting high risk victims to make sure they are safe, to serving warrants to those who have been investigated.