THE subject of this letter is one that far too many choose to ignore but needs highlighting more than ever now.

Since the coronavirus lockdown the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a 49% increase in calls, in the first four weeks double the usual number of women were murdered, and in London the Met Police are making a record 100 domestic abuse arrests a day.

In the first four weeks of lockdown 14 women in the UK were shot, stabbed, beaten or burned to death in the UK, a rather sobering statistic.

Tens of thousands of women nationwide are living in terror of physical and mental abuse, more so because their partners are furloughed and they are closely stuck together.

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Some here in the Scottish Borders like to think it is not a problem here, but I am reliably informed that on average more than one woman, often with children, flees her homes each week here – another sobering thought.

A close relative once lived on a posh up-market estate in the Borders and the incidences of domestic abuse were a disgrace, so it’s not just happening in social housing areas.

Here in Scotland local authorities have no powers to evict the perpetrators of domestic abuse. What the police can do is also limited.

In the 1990s I worked in the hospitality trade, where up to 90 weddings would take place on average a year. I recall one of the staff – who was previously an abused wife, until she took action to put a stop to it – often commented that she worried how many of the brides dressed in their finery and looking so happy would end up like she did.

The problem needs tackling and now, but I reckon there is not the political will to do so. Domestic abuse is a hidden killer, and in our society there is no place for abuse either physical or mental.

Andrew Heatlie

I WAS saddened to read about the decision by Ross McArthur not to extend the contracts of 17 Dunfermline players recently. At first it appeared it was because he did not believe it would be legal to do so, but PFA Scotland say it is legal, and the government’s own website confirms it is legal. So why not do it?

Reading between the lines, it appears the legal advice he received related not to the furlough scheme but to preserving the soundness of the business, ie cost-cutting in a crisis, although he does not specify which two sources he consulted. Whilst as a businessman it is his job to keep the business on a sound footing, we are in exceptional times. A short extension of contracts would have allowed the mists to clear on next season (well, maybe, although the authorities seem to be getting in all sorts of a mess over it so far). It would also have bought valuable time for the players concerned to possibly find other clubs if the normal transfer window is suspended, or at worst a couple more months of bills paid.

And it is not clear why he thinks Dunfermline would be exposed on an audit. Why are other clubs able to extend contracts and not them? The furlough scheme is perfectly legal anyway, so where is the problem? Talk of exposing the business to risk and having to follow the advice you asked for sounds like just an excuse for cost-cutting. It is not of much use to say it is a “real shame” that there is a human cost attached.

Football, like other industries, will have to reconfigure after Covid-19 – football probably more than most, given it seems unlikely that in the near future matches will be played with fans present.

It is definitely a low blow not to support your staff as much as you can now, whatever the final outcome is for football.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside

OH dear: poor Richard Lyle is at it again! As a member of the SNP I would expect a nationalist MSP to exhibit some degree of educated thinking.

I appreciate that Mr Lyle is probably not quite up to speed in historical facts, but to claim that the Palestinian people inflicted exile on themselves is laughable. It appears he thinks that the inhabitants of some 500 towns and villages decided to walk to other countries rather than welcome groups of Jewish militia (formerly branded as terrorists by the UK) who seemed inclined to shoot people. They also decided not to bother returning to their homes and lands but live in tents for the rest of their lives!

In a proposed amendment to a motion marking the 72nd anniversary of the 1948 exodus, known as the Nakba, Richard Lyle seeks to blame the forced eviction of 700,000 Palestinian Muslims and Christians – branding it “self-inflicted.” His abhorrent disrespect towards the Palestinian people is sad and ignorant.

Perhaps he also thinks that since the Israeli invasion 53 years ago the importation of more than 500,000 settlers from Russia, Ukraine, the USA etc into Palestine and the removal of the native inhabitants is a good thing. For a member of the SNP to show any support of a government that is 100 miles to the right of Boris Johnson is a disgrace. Time to retire, Mr Lyle!

B McKenna