News In Focus
Domestic abuse law well used in first months
Police Scotland have recorded more than 400 offences under the country's new domestic abuse law in the first three months after it was introduced.
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into force on 1 April created a single offence of domestic abuse which covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical abuse.
Of the 414 incidents reported, 190 cases have so far been reported to the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, and 13 have been prosecuted to convictions.
Since December 2018, 18,500 officers and police staff have been given online training on domestic abuse and the new offence, and 7,500 enhanced training in person, with a further 6,500 due to receive this in the next few months.
Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie, national lead for domestic abuse, said the figures showed the legislation was being used well. He commented: "The number of offences recorded and people reported demonstrates the need for this new legislation and that our officers are utilising it to good effect."
"The new law covers behaviours which have always been considered abusive but which were difficult to tackle using previous laws.
"Police Scotland is now able to tackle the full range of abusive behaviours used by perpetrators to protect those they seek to abuse."
Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women's Aid said her group would be cautious about drawing any conclusions from three months of figures.
She added: "We were happy to hear some encouraging reports in the first month after implementation, but we are keeping a watching brief, as reports from our services across the country indicate that women's experiences when reporting under the new law have varied from place to place.
"We are particularly interested in hearing more detail about the more than 50% of cases not being passed to COPFS and how we can work with partners to improve this figure."