Legislation has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, giving more powers to police and courts to protect people at risk of domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill will enable police and courts to ban suspected abusers from re-entering the home and from approaching or contacting the person at risk for a period of time to enable them to consider their longer-term options around safety and housing.
Together, these measures should reduce the risk that victims of domestic abuse end up having to become homeless in order to escape their abuser.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This Bill is building on our legislation which gave police and prosecutors greater powers to target those who engage in coercive or controlling behaviour.
“A person’s home should be a place of safety and we know that is not always the case. Women are disproportionately victims of domestic abuse with four in five victims being women.
“This Bill represents a significant shift forward in ensuring protection can be put in place for women, in particular, from domestic abuse.”
Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, has welcomed the move.
She said: “The passing of this Bill is a milestone moment for women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse who for years have asked us why it should be them, rather than their abusers, who have to leave their homes, pets and belongings to seek safety.
“Domestic abuse is the leading cause of women’s homelessness in Scotland and this Bill will make an immediate and significant difference.
“It fills a giant gap in Scottish law by upholding the rights of women and children living with domestic abuse to stay safely in their own homes if they choose.”
For advice, contact Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline, which is available 24/7, on 0800 027 1234 or via email and web chat at sdafmh.org.uk.
Source: Fife Today (March 2021)