Domestic Abuse (Disclosure Scheme)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th October 2017.

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Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister how the disclosure scheme for domestic abuse, Clare’s law, has worked during its two years in practice. (S5F-01618)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Safeguarding those who suffer from, or are at risk of, domestic abuse is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government, and we were pleased to support Police Scotland’s decision to roll out a national disclosure scheme for domestic abuse. Two years on, Clare’s law has assisted with more than 2,000 requests and has warned more than 900 people of their partner’s history of abusive behaviour. The scheme helps to highlight the day-to-day work of Police Scotland officers in helping to keep people safe. We will continue to work closely with criminal justice and third sector partners to reduce and, ultimately, to eliminate domestic abuse.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

Does the First Minister agree with me that the disclosure scheme for domestic abuse in Scotland has successfully acted as a safeguard for individuals who may be victims or at risk of domestic violence, and that raising more awareness of the scheme would go even further towards protecting people in Scotland from abusive partners?

The First Minister:

Yes—that is an important point. When the scheme was launched, the Scottish Government funded an awareness-raising campaign. Given the benefits that have arisen from the scheme already, we will certainly continue to work with Police Scotland in ensuring that anyone who feels that they are at risk can take advantage of the scheme.

Last week, the chamber unanimously supported the creation of a new offence of domestic abuse. We know that, although reporting of domestic abuse has increased, there are still many people who suffer in silence. That is why there will be a comprehensive publicity campaign for the new offence, to ensure that people know that it will make it easier to hold domestic abusers to account—especially for acts of coercive or controlling behaviour.