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Call for action as the number of young women suffering domestic abuse rises

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Charities launch campaign after figures show a rise 8.9% in reported incidents of domestic abuse where the victim is a woman under the age of 30

The number of women under the age of 30 who were victims of domestic abuse rose by 8.9% last year.

Scottish Government figures show there were 22,075 incidents of domestic abuse of women in that age bracket in 2015/16 an increase from 20,283 the previous year.

The rise in case bucks the overall trend which saw reported incidents of domestic abuse drop from 59,882 incidents in 2014/15 to 58,104.

Although not all incidents of women under 30 being abused can be attributed to those who are attending college or university previous NUS research found almost one in five students have experienced some sort of sexual harassment during their first week of term alone.

There is a need to reach out to more women and let them know help is available

As a result, charities NUS Scotland and Scottish Women's Aid have now come together to run a campaign to alert students of help available and urging them to report any incidents.

Just some of the initiatives undertaken by the partnership as part of the 16 Days of Action campaign will see NUS Scotland, the country’s national union of students, sending all its member Students' Associations posters advertising the National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline number to put up on campuses across Scotland.

Colleges and universities are also being urged to help make students aware of the support available from local Women’s Aid groups.

Programmes such as Glasgow University’s Let’s Talk initiative which is looking at building a communication system for reporting rape, making necessary resources available to survivors and providing education on bystander intervention are being promoted.

As is work by Rape Crisis Scotland to provide students with the skills to be trainers in preventing sexual violence.

“In many cases, those experiencing violence or threatening behaviour may not know where to turn for help and support – and this is particularly the case for younger students,” NUS Scotland women's officer Angela Alexander said.

“That's why NUS Scotland is joining forces with Scottish Women's Aid to mark the start of 16 Days of Action and highlight the fact that support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"It’s clear there is a need to reach out to more women and let them know help is available.

“It's important for everyone to know that the first step to support is only a free phone call away."

Marsha Scott of Scottish Women’s Aid added: “We know there are students who are experiencing domestic abuse, and we want to make sure that you know we are here for you too.

“University and colleges are often whirlwinds of new experiences, friendships and relationships. This is often exciting, but it can make finding someone to trust and talk to about potential abuse really tricky.

“The National Forced Marriage and Domestic Abuse helpline is somewhere that will listen, support and talk with you about yourself or someone you are worried about 24 hours, seven days a week.”

Although the number of women under the age of 30 suffering domestic abuse rose, the overall number of people in Scotland who were victims dropped from 59,882 incidents in 2014/15 to 58,104 last year.