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Scottish consultation on protective orders


Scottish Womens Aid, Laura Dodsworth, consultation, new protective orders, Scottish Government, domestic abuse, This approach would mean the person at risk would not have to make the application to the court themselves.

On 21 December 2018 the Scottish Government opened a consultation on protective orders for people at risk of domestic abuse.

The consultation was set up to seek views on proposals to create new protective orders that could be used to keep people at risk of domestic abuse safe by banning the perpetrators of domestic abuse from entering their homes.

The consultation, which runs until 29 March 2019, is also seeking views on whether changes are needed to the current system of exclusion orders which allow a victim of domestic abuse to apply to suspend the right of their partner to live in the family home.

In contrast with existing civil measures, such as Non-Harassment Orders and Exclusion Orders, the approach proposed in the consultation would mean the person at risk would not have to make the application to the court themselves for one of these protective orders.

The new protective orders could be used to keep those at risk of domestic abuse safe by giving the police and courts powers to remove suspected perpetrators from their homes.

This may be key to ensuring the safety of a person at risk, especially where the effect of abuse, and especially coercive control, is such that that they are not in a position to initiate civil proceedings against the person putting them at risk.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament passed the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which created a new specific offence of domestic abuse, covering physical abuse but also other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour, bringing clarity for victims so they can see explicitly that what their partner or ex-partner has done to them is wrong and helping ensure perpetrators can be held to account under the criminal law.

In addition, research by Scottish Women’s Aid on homelessness and domestic abuse highlighted that domestic abuse is a significant cause of homelessness in Scotland.

And it was also noted during the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill through Parliament that it can be very difficult for those suffering or at risk of suffering from domestic abuse, the majority of whom are women often with caring responsibilities for children, to remain in their own home when attempting to leave an abusive partner.

That is why in the Programme for Government in September 2018, the government committed to consult on the creation of new protective orders in this area and on whether any changes are needed to the existing provisions on exclusion orders.

This consultation meets that commitment.

To begin taking part in the consultation, click here.

For more information about the issues involved, click here.

This consultation forms part of wider action by the justice system to tackle domestic abuse.

Police Scotland have established a National Domestic Abuse Taskforce to target the most prolific perpetrators, and their Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse has helped safeguard those who have been suffering from, or at risk of, domestic abuse.

So if you have concerns about your own partner’s past, or concerns about another person’s partner, you can apply to the Scheme to ask if that person has a history of domestic abuse or other relevant behaviour.

The Crown Office has a dedicated National Prosecutor for Domestic Abuse and the Scottish Government has committed to expanding the innovative Caledonian System domestic abuse programme to 6 new local authority areas, which will enable more male perpetrators of domestic abuse to receive specific rehabilitation services tailored to their offending behaviour.

If you are in Scotland and need help or support, click here.

In an emergency, or if you feel threatened, call the police on 999.

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