Action in Scotland to prevent domestic abuse will take a major step forward with the national roll out of the Disclosure Scheme from 1 October 2015.
National roll out of the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse (Scotland) (DSDAS) follows successful pilots in Ayrshire and Aberdeen.
Since the start of the scheme in November last year, 86 requests have been received for disclosure with 35 requests resulting in a disclosure being made. DSDAS has continued in Ayrshire and Aberdeen becoming business as usual in the divisions.
Announcing the roll out from next week, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick, said
Domestic abuse affects all our communities. Our role is bringing offenders to justice and working with partners to ensure that victims are protected and receive the right support. Up to 25 per cent of police time is spent responding to domestic incidents with nearly 60,000 incidents recorded by Police Scotland officers last year.
When people form new relationships, there can be concerns that the new partner may have an abusive past. This scheme gives people the opportunity to ask that question.
During the pilot of the scheme, people who have received disclosures have been extremely positive about their experience. Make no mistake, it is difficult news to hear but it allows them to make an informed choice, to protect themselves and by extension their families and children from harm. In some cases, it can break that cycle of violence. A key element of the disclosure process has been ensuring appropriate support is available to people who may need it.
We want to stop domestic abuse in all its forms and this scheme takes us closer to that aim. Help is also available for the abuser. They have the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t, we will. We will investigate all reports of domestic abuse and those responsible will face the consequences of their actions. Police Scotland, with its partners, will work to end domestic abuse in all of Scotland’s communities.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said
Domestic abuse is an appalling crime and I am delighted that, as a result of the national roll out of the Scheme, people across Scotland who suspect their partner may have a violent past will have the right to ask for information.
The results of the pilot clearly show that the scheme works well and is a good fit for Scotland’s unique justice system. Put simply – it can save lives and sends a clear message that abusers can no longer hide.
Tackling domestic abuse requires a range of actions and activity and today’s announcement is another tool in the armoury of our justice agencies. The Scottish Government recently announced £20 million funding to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse, across the country and we are committed to tackling this heinous crime head on. There is absolutely no place for it in Scotland.
Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive, Scottish Women’s Aid, said
For the last 40 years, Scottish Women’s Aid has been working to support women and children experiencing domestic abuse, most recently alongside key partners like Police Scotland. As an organisation that supports any effort that increases women’s autonomy and safety, we welcome the roll out of the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse across Scotland and look forward to working with Police Scotland to develop other innovative approaches to making women safer.
Anyone concerned that their partner may have an abusive past can contact the police and request information on their partner’s background if they suspect them of a history of domestic abuse or violence.
Each case is considered by a multi agency panel to determine whether disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to protect the individual from their partner.