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Police to get extra training for Domestic Abuse Act
Scotland's police officers are to receive enhanced training to prepare them for the new domestic abuse law now before Holyrood.
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill, which will reach the final stage of the parliamentary process early in the new year, will create a new offence of domewstic abuse which will incluse psychological abuse and coercive control.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has now committed to provide additional funding specifically to train frontline officers and staff in assessing instances of psychological abuse and coercive control in domestic abuse settings. Subject to completion of the Police Scotland tendering process, it is likely that funding of the training will be in the range of several hundred thousand pounds.
The funding will come from the £20m Violence against Women and Girls Justice budget (for the 2015-18 financial years), which has supported initiatives to tackle violence against women and improve the justice response to gender-based violence. The exact costs of the training will be determined through a formal procurement exercise undertaken by Police Scotland.
Mr Matheson commented: "It’s important that as we grant new powers to police to investigate one of society’s most despicable crimes, we help ensure frontline officers and call handlers are equipped to do this. Police deal with the damage caused by domestic abuse day in day out, and this training will help them to identify some of the more insidious and damaging behaviours that perpetrators use to control their partner or ex-partner which are covered within the new offence."
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald added: "We know that the controlling behaviours, used by perpetrators to maintain power and control over victims, can be both devious and devastating. However to those outwith the relationship, the ways in which a perpetrator will conceal their actions can often make them appear innocuous in isolation. We have committed to this critical training to address these issues so our officers and staff can better recognise the signs of controlling behaviours in domestic abuse, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice."