JUST a fraction of domestic abuse cases are prosecuted on indictment, new figures have revealed.
Critics have warned that means perpetrators, if found guilty, will not receive the toughest punishments.
Alison McInnes, Scottish Liberal Democrats justice spokeswoman, has called for ministers to review how the crime is prosecuted.
It follows the case of former MSP Bill Walker, who was found guilty of abusing three wives over a number of years.
He was jailed for a year in prison, the maximum sentence available to the sheriff court, but could have received more if the case had been dealt with in the high court.
A Parliamentary question and answer found that of 4,118 domestic abuse charges in 2012/13, just 121 were prosecuted on indictment.
Ms McInnes said: “In those cases where prosecutors believe that there is clearly a pattern of sustained domestic violence, then the option to prosecute in a higher court must be considered carefully.
“The most serious offenders must be properly identified so that they can be dealt with accordingly.
“We must ensure that those found guilty of these reprehensible crimes receive an appropriate sentence and that people living with domestic abuse are getting the support they need.
“Parliament and the public are united in their disdain for the perpetrators of these crimes. These figures underline the need to review the way in which domestic abuse charges are prosecuted in Scotland to ensure that it is appropriate.”