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Solicitor General welcomes publication of Domestic Abuse figures

The Solicitor General, Alison Di Rollo QC, has welcomed the publication of figures on Domestic Abuse and Stalking charges in Scotland.

The data published today shows the number of charges relating to domestic abuse reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 2019-20 is the highest annual figure since 2015-16.

The vast majority of the 30,718 charges were prosecuted, with 92 percent proceeding to court.

1,065 charges were reported under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 which came into force in April 2019, with 96 percent resulting in court proceedings being raised.

Following the publication of the figures, Solicitor General for Scotland Alison Di Rollo QC said:

“The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into force in April 2019, broke ground in addressing the true dynamics of abusive behaviour to which too many victims are subjected. This legislation has allowed the prosecution of a range of coercive and controlling behaviours which are so harmful to victims, but which were not previously criminal.

“Courts can now consider the totality of behaviour when sentencing, better reflecting the lived experience of victims and children.

“Police and prosecutors in Scotland have undergone extensive training on this legislation, and will continue to work closely together, and with victim support agencies, to ensure that the prosecution of domestic abuse is as effective as possible and that victims are supported through the process.”

Anne Marie Hicks, National Procurator Fiscal for Domestic Abuse, said:

“COPFS takes a rigorous approach to crimes of domestic abuse and stalking, and we are committed to prosecuting these crimes effectively and fairly. This includes a presumption in favour of prosecution where there is sufficient evidence to support a criminal allegation.

“Prosecutors recognise the devastating impact these crimes can have on those affected, and will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal, including the ground-breaking legislation introduced last year, to prosecute domestic abuse.

“While the figures published today do not cover the period of lockdown, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic upon the justice system, particularly the ability to progress criminal trials, has been significant and we recognise the impact of delays and uncertainty on victims. We will continue to work closely with justice partners and victim support organisations on a system-wide response to the challenges of the pandemic to ensure the justice system fully recovers, and cases progress as efficiently as possible.

“I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of domestic abuse or stalking to report this to police and seek support.”