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Sturgeon: Tougher laws on domestic violence planned

This news post is about 9 years old

​Scottish Government will consider strengthening domestic violence legislation

Scottish Government ministers are considering introducing a specific crime of domestic abuse.

Speaking at the Scottish Women’s Aid conference in Edinburgh, the First Minister announced the launch of a consultation into proposals to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual offences.

In her address, the First Minister outlined that the consultation would look at five key areas, among them would be whether a specific offence of Domestic Abuse is required and if legislation to tackle the problem of so-called “revenge porn” – the posting, usually by ex-partners, of private, intimate images without consent is needed to provide further protection.

The First Minister told the delegates that the Scottish Government was committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and to the realization of women’s equality in our society.

If there is a consensus on what we need to do, we will legislate in this Parliament

She said: "Domestic abuse in law can be challenging therefore we need to ensure that our legislation commands wide support, anticipates possible pitfalls, and allows us to prosecute the people who perpetrate these crimes. If there is a consensus on what we need to do, we will legislate in this parliament. But if we need to do further work with stakeholders to ensure we get this absolutely right, we will do so.

“Either way, we will make clear that on-going coercive and controlling behaviour is unacceptable; and that those who commit such crimes will face justice. We know that changing the law isn’t enough on its own – but it can play an important part in the wider social and cultural changes we want to bring about.”

Lily Greenan, Scottish Womens Aid, chief executive, said: “It is 20 years since the Beijing Platform for Action laid out the work that should be undertaken globally to improve and protect women's human rights. The Platform for Action identified violence against women as one of the critical areas of concern. We are delighted that the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women is able to join us in reviewing the progress we have made in Scotland since 1995 to tackle violence against women.

In welcoming the First Minister to the conference, Greenan added: “Ms Sturgeon's appointment demonstrates that some progress has been made on gender equality in the last 20 years."

The Scottish Government domestic violence consultation runs until 19 June.