‘40 domestic abuse prosecutions a day’ in Scotland

Police Scotland targeting individuals who have committed domestic abuse in Edinburgh. ''Picture: Neil Hanna

Police Scotland targeting individuals who have committed domestic abuse in Edinburgh. ''Picture: Neil Hanna

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THE number of domestic abuse prosecutions has risen by 25 per cent in a year, new figures show.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show there were more than 13,500 proceedings in 2013-14 – almost 40 a day – where the main charge had a “domestic abuse aggravator”, up from 10,909 the previous year.

The party’s justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said she was particularly concerned about the number of men being sent to Scotland’s young offenders’ institution, highlighting the need for better relationship education in schools.

Of 13,590 proceedings overall, a total of 1,383 resulted in a prison sentence, with a further 72 ending up in a person being sent to a young offenders’ institution, which house those aged 16-21.

The figures were released by the Scottish Government following a parliamentary question.

The effort to break domestic violence cycle

They show that 3,119 people were given a community sentence, with a further 2,942 receiving a fine. A further 3,398 were admonished.

The Scottish Government said the increase in the overall number of proceedings was due to a decision by the police and Crown Office to introduce a more consistent policy for the prosecution of cases.

The Lib Dems have now called on the government to improve access to relationship, sexual health and parenthood education in Scotland’s schools after the figures showed 195 young people have been sent to young offenders’ institutions in the past three years after being convicted in domestic abuse cases.

Ms McInnes said: “These figures show that domestic abuse is not a problem confined to any one generation.

“These alarming figures demonstrate that it is imperative that young people are given the information they need about sexual consent and respectful relationships.”

Last month saw the launch of a new disclosure scheme dubbed Clare’s Law, which allows women to ask police for the details of their partner’s criminal history.

There have also been calls for a specific offence of domestic abuse to be introduced. Currently, prosecutions are brought for offences such as assault or breach of the peace, with domestic abuse an aggravating factor.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said the figures showed those who been prosecuted had not received strict enough sentences.

She said: “We have a situation where the police are making a big thing of targeting domestic abuse, but it doesn’t seem to be getting backed up in the courts.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government is committed to working to ensure that those who perpetrate it are brought to justice and that victims of domestic abuse receive the support they need.”

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