DOMESTIC abuse incidents rose by more than ten per cent last year.

But the number of cases which led to court convictions remained almost static.

The figures were released to the recent Police, Fire, Rescue and Safer Communities Board, which meets every couple of months at Scottish Borders Council.

In 2016 there were 743 reports of domestic abuse in the Borders, which includes all aspects of sexual crimes, however, last year this figure had risen to 823.

The number of cases which resulted in a criminal report being tabled went from only 48 to 49 during the same period.

Despite the worrying trends, the Scottish Borders has never been better prepared for dealing with and curbing domestic abuse.

Police Scotland have outlined plans to reduce instances by targeting repeat offenders.

Chief Inspector Andy McLean stated: “When attending domestic incidents all officers follow due process to robustly investigate incidents reported ensuring that if there is any criminality we gather evidence and arrest the offender.

“Every domestic incident that has occurred over the last 24 hour period is scrutinised and reviewed daily by the local area commander and the threat, risk and harm to the victims assessed to ensure everything possible is being done to protect the victim and bring offenders to justice.

“Once an offender is released on bail from court we proactively pursue offenders who are the subject of bail conditions.

"This involves maintaining contact with victims to ensure their safety, along with robust enforcement checks on which are also reviewed every 24 hours.”

Reporting domestic abuse has also been made easier in recent years with the introduction of partnership initiatives and programmes.

The Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) service, which is delivered by the Scottish Borders Safer Communities Team, continues to respond to the highest risk cases and uses risk assessment and safety planning to ensure that risk of further harm can be reduced.

The Domestic Abuse Community Support (DACS) service, which is delivered by Children1st and is commissioned by Scottish Borders Council, provides long term, practical and emotional support to adults and their children to help them recover from their experience.

Both DAAS and DACS support male and female victims and work closely together to ensure that the right sort of support is provided at the right time.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council told us: “Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on communities and is both the most often repeated violent crime and the most frequently under-reported.

"In the Scottish Borders, a partnership approach remains the key way in which domestic abuse and the impact on families is tackled.

"It is also recognised that information sharing is key to tackling perpetrator behaviour and protecting those at highest risk.

"To this end, there continues to be close working partnerships between the statutory and voluntary sector agencies locally to provide support to victims and to tackle perpetrator behaviour, with a range of services available."

Last year a new Court Advocacy service was set up to provide support for victims going through the Scottish Borders courts.

The service was designed and developed in partnership with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and has already become an invaluable voice for victims in domestic abuse cases.

Additional support for victims is provided through the Safer Communities Safe Housing service, delivered in partnership with the four registered social landlords in the region, with an aim to give victims the opportunity to remain in their own homes, if safe to do so, and to provide emergency pet care until families become settled in their new homes.

Children and their mothers are also able to access a groupwork programme to help repair their damaged relationships.

And locally Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery (CEDAR) receives referrals from a wide range of agencies.

Border Women’s Aid have provided refuge accommodation for over 30 years.

Scottish Borders Council's website contains a wide range of information about the support that is provided -

The local authority spokesperson added: "We would urge anyone who has concerns, either for their own safety or on behalf of someone else, to make sure they have a look at what is available on our website and get the help they need.”