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New approach to domestic abuse 08/05/2014 The Solicitor General has called for a new approach to the problem of domestic abuse in Scotland.

New approach to domestic abuse

The Solicitor General has called for a new approach to the problem of domestic abuse in Scotland. Speaking at the COPFS Domestic Abuse Conference today, Lesley Thomson QC said that a modern approach was required to take account of the emotional damage to victims caused by domestic abuse, as well as the physical damage that is so often caused.

Domestic abuse often reduces the victim’s confidence and self-esteem. It undermines their autonomy and has a corrosive effect on their ability to enjoy their everyday life and to participate in their relationship, their family, and their community.

"Scotland has come a long way in dealing openly and honestly with the causes and consequences of domestic abuse,” said the Solicitor General. “We have witnessed a cultural change in the way in which domestic abuse is viewed and treated by society in recognising the significant and enduring consequences that domestic abuse can have on victims and children.”

"The stalking legislation passed in 2010 gave prosecutors a new tool to tackle this harmful behaviour and sent a clear public message that this sort of conduct was not acceptable and would not be tolerated,” she explained. “Domestic abuse is in my view another area in which specialist legislation has a role to play. It has the potential to effect further change in societal attitudes, to instil confidence in victims and of course to ensure that their abusers are held to account.”

"Creating a specific offence of domestic abuse is one way in which we could ensure that our criminal law is and remains fit for purpose,” she added. “It would help victims by acknowledging the true impact and consequences of all types of abusive behaviours including non-violent tactics of control and abuse, and would solidify Scotland's position as a leader in the field of tackling violence against women."


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