Domestic Violence

Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 24th June 1999.

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Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 24th June 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has within the Scottish criminal justice system to address the issue of domestic violence. (S1O-98)

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

We are determined to tackle domestic violence effectively. The Scottish Partnership on Domestic Violence is developing a multi-agency strategy for tackling this very real and debilitating problem.

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

I am sure that everybody here will applaud any attempt to reduce this particular scourge on our society. I would like Mr Wallace to consider the available penalties. As part of the discussion, will he consider enhanced penalties for breaches of the peace where there is evidence of harassment or where there are overtones of domestic violence, and enhanced penalties for what are effectively domestic violence assaults, so that-without necessarily creating a specific crime-we nevertheless get the action that we require in the courts?

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the courts. However, it is important to recognise, as Ms Cunningham does, that breach of the peace can apply to some very serious offences. The Crown often recognises that and brings the cases on indictment. In 1997, 11 breach of the peace cases were taken on indictment and a total of 1,378 people received custodial sentences for that offence. The High Court recently passed an eight-year sentence in a breach of the peace case which involved stalking.