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Courts Failing Domestic Abuse Victims

According to a freedom of information request. domestic abuse courts are failing victims due to significant waiting times for courts to settle a case.

Figures released showed that cases that were expected to be heard in eight weeks, were taking twice as long, with one case taking 75 weeks to conclude. Despite the findings, the Scottish Court Service, SCS, insists that these delays were not a result of cutbacks.

“Putting Pressure on Victims”

13 courts have closed in Scotland in 2014, with a further four expected to close in early 2015 as a result of a lack of expenditure in Scottish courts.

Kim Leslie, convener of the Law society's civil justice committee said: "The impact of a delay on a victim is extraordinary.

"Justice delayed is justice denied. It is very stressful going to court for most of us.

"The idea of having to wait longer for your case to be heard can only be putting pressure on victims, witnesses, everyone involved in the process."

Despite the cutbacks, the SCS said it was putting more money into Scottish Courts to try and aid workers.

Clare’s Law

The figures on domestic abuse come after Police Scotland announced at least 15 people had signed up to the new pilot scheme tackling domestic abuse, currently being tested in Aberdeen. The pilot, also known as Clare’s law, looks to inform someone if their partner has had a history of domestic abuse, as discussed in our last blog post.

If successful in the six month trial period, the pilot could be rolled out across Scotland.

Last year, Police Scotland reported that the number of common assaults linked to domestic abuse rising by 78% on last year.

Police Crackdown

Police Scotland also announced yesterday that they would be looking to clampdown on all cases of domestic abuse in Scotland over the festive period with a fear that excessive drinking and times spent with relatives increasing domestic abuse.

In Edinburgh, police announced that those who have been banned from certain areas or approaching certain people, run the risk of on the spot arrests if they breach their court order. In the Scottish Capital, police deal with on average 15 cases of domestic violence a day with over 5,500 cases of domestic abuse a year in Edinburgh alone.

There is, on average, a domestic incident every nine minutes in Scotland.

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