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Scottish police can improve response to DA, says inspector

Though Police Scotland has done much to improve the way it handles domestic abuse cases, more can be done to improve its services, according to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Craig Naylor. The force is committed to making improvements.

Police Scotland has a proactive approach to tackling the most persistent offenders, comprehensive training has been rolled out, specialist units have been introduced and innovative campaigns launched, the inspectorate acknowledges.

But in a report Naylor highlighted the need for training, referencing the lived experience of victims, addressing any outdated attitudes which may exist, and improving ways of communicating with victims during investigations.

“Plans for their safety, which is a critical aspect of the response to domestic abuse and developing a consistent recording method for safety plans, also need urgent attention,” the inspectorate said in a summary of the report.

Among Naylor’s 14 recommendations is a robust system for progressing domestic abuse inquiries. Good quality service to victims from the start is crucial, he argued, adding: “If, having taken the bold step to report domestic abuse, a victim has a poor experience, they are far less likely to report any further abuse.”

In media comments, assistant Chief Constable Bex Smith said: “While we do not always get everything right, we listen carefully to a range of voices, including victims groups, and take action. We are resolute in our commitment to continually improve our response to domestic abuse and we will consider how this report can support us in doing so.”

She also said: “Every instance of domestic abuse is unique and we seek to tailor our response to the needs of the victims, including children who often witness abuse.”

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