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Rise in domestic violence should force SNP into sentencing rethink

24 Oct 2017

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An increase in domestic abuse cases in Scotland should force the SNP to reconsider its plan to abolish sentences of less than 12 months.

Figures released today have revealed a one per cent rise in reports of abuse, meaning police now deal with 159 calls a day.

The statistics showed the vast majority of cases involved men attacking women, while nearly half of incidents had previous reports involving the same attacker and victim.

The Scottish Conservatives said, with the vast majority of domestic violence sentences resulting in jail terms of less than a year, ministers should think again about introducing a presumption against the use of such sentences.

Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said it would lead to an increase in convicted abusers escaping prison and walking straight back onto the streets, often into the same home as the crime was committed.

Today’s official statistics revealed 58,104 cases were investigated by Police Scotland last year.

Of those, 47 per cent resulted in a crime or offence being recorded, a drop from last year’s rate of 51 per cent.

There was also widespread regional disparity. In West Dunbartonshire there were 155 cases per 10,000 population, compared to just 47 in Orkney.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:

“Any increase in domestic abuse cases, however small, is utterly regrettable.

“It reflects terribly on Scotland as a country, and gives us a depressing insight into the sheer misery that besets some people’s lives.

“These figures show that police are called to 159 incidents every day.

“But instead of getting tough on perpetrators, the SNP wants to abolish jail terms of less than 12 months.

“That would mean domestic abusers – most of whom are jailed for a period within that timeframe – would walk away from court with a conviction, and straight back onto the streets to torment their victim.

“Any government serious about tackling domestic violence would not let that happen