THE scale of domestic abuse incidents between young couples has prompted a councillor to declare it ‘a battle we are not winning’ – as horrifying statistics showed an increase of violence towards women.

Statistics from Police Scotland show that during 2019/20 there were 62,907 incidents of domestic abuse recorded in Scotland, a rise of 3.7 per cent from the previous year. 

West Dunbartonshire had the fourth highest rate of reported domestic abuse incidents for all Scotland’s 32 council areas, with 150 incidents per 10,000 people during the year – compared to a Scotland-wide rate of 115.

And according to figures debated by West Dunbartonshire Council’s housing committee last week, one in five of the area’s reported incidents involved couples aged between 16 and 24.

And when the issue was discussed at West Dunbartonshire Council’s housing committee, members were shocked at the age of those involved.

Councillors agreed more needs to be done to tackle the problem which leaves one fifth between the ages of 16 and 24 at risk of being homeless.

Figures reveal that domestic abuse cases accounted for more than one in five – 22 per cent – of all homelessness presentations made to West Dunbartonshire Council in 2020/21.

Four out of five of those – 82 per cent – were women.

Councillor David McBride said: “It is extremely sad to hear of domestic abuse in any circumstance but the age range, that one fifth are between 16 and 24, to me was quite surprising.

“I was hoping that the new generation were not going to be inflicting this on partners, and that clearly is not the case.

“That is a battle we are not winning and we need to deal with this at a young age.”

Clydebank councillor Diane Docherty, the committee’s chair, said that perpetrators needed to be named so the council could help stop the problem.

Cllr Docherty referred to the White Ribbon Campaign, a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.

She said: “I attend meetings about this issue and it is always about how we can help women but this is something that men need to deal with and take responsibility for their actions.

“I think more men should be getting involved in the White Ribbon Campaign.”