While accepting the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 has boosted efforts to tackle all forms of domestic abuse, the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee says more could be done.
In a report summarising post-legislative scrutiny, committee members say they would like to see far greater information sharing between the criminal and civil justice processes for domestic abuse crimes.
Members will also seek views on a suggested single court to hear domestic abuse cases because some perpetrators use civil courts to continue abuse of their victims.
The committee also welcomed the Scottish Sentencing Council’s current review of domestic abuse sentencing guidelines; called for improved training of front-line police officers; and an updated public awareness campaign about domestic abuse as part of wider public education campaigns to tackle violence against women and girls.
Members commented that creation of a new offence, coercive control, has proved a valuable tool in investigation and prosecution of abuse, and noted there is strong support for the Act among prosecutors, law enforcement and women’s groups. Prosecutions are increasing, albeit slowly.