Police to get greater powers to protect domestic abuse victims
Police and courts will gain greater powers to remove suspected abusers from victims’ homes and ban them from re‑entering under new legislation published yesterday (October 5).
The Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill, if passed by Parliament, will also allow social landlords to end or transfer a tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse to prevent a victim becoming homeless and enabling them to remain in the family home.
Scottish Women’s Aid said the Bill was “a milestone moment for women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse”.
Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the importance of protecting women and girls who find themselves isolated and vulnerable due to the actions of an abusive partner.
“This new Bill will apply to all those at risk of domestic abuse, but we know women are disproportionally affected, representing 80 per cent of victims,” he said. “A person’s home should be a place of safety and the new orders being introduced will give victims of domestic abuse space and time to address their longer term safety and housing situation.
“The Bill builds on our legislation that came into force last year giving police and prosecutors greater powers to target those who engage in coercive or controlling behaviour.
“The Scottish government is determined to protect everyone from domestic abuse and, at the same time, we will continue to implement our Equally Safe strategy with a focus on supporting women and children at risk of abuse.”
Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, added: “The publication 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, with women often facing the impossible choice between living with an abuser and making themselves and their children homeless.
“We have long said that Emergency Protective Orders will make an immediate and significant difference for those women and children, offering them respite and breathing space as they seek support and safety. The role of social landlords is also key in this, and so new powers to allow them to help survivors of domestic abuse to remain in the family home are welcome news.”