Leader comment: Time to get tougher on domestic abuse in Scotland

Despite high-profile campaigns to prevent domestic abuse, the number of cases has increased year-on-year.
Despite high-profile campaigns to prevent domestic abuse, the number of cases has increased year-on-year.
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The stubborn persistence of domestic abuse in Scotland should shame us all and spur our politicians to take action. In describing new figures showing there are some 160 cases of such human misery every single day of the year as “unacceptable”, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson was in a sense casting judgement on his own performance, but thankfully also suggested he will at least try to do something about it.

The Conservatives have a point when they warn that plans to abolish prison sentences of under 12 months could exacerbate the problem. This would remove the main deterrent for domestic abuse, which can often result in less than a year behind bars.

And victims would also lose a valuable period during which they need not fear their abusers’ attentions and can attempt to build a new life in peace. The SNP may wish to consider making an exception for domestic violence to enable culprits to be jailed or perhaps increasing sentences.

Public awareness campaigns appear to have made little difference.