We are introducing new legislation and investing record levels of funding for front-line services to help to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We fund a range of services in Glasgow, including Glasgow East Women’s Aid, which supports women and children, and the ASSIST—advocacy, support, safety, information services together—service.
We are also working to improve the response of justice services and have provided funding to reduce court waiting times for domestic abuse cases and expand the innovative Caledonian programme, which is a domestic abuse perpetrator programme in Glasgow. Finally, in 2019 we will commence the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which creates a specific offence of domestic abuse. That will cover not just physical abuse, but other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.
The Scottish Women’s Aid report “Change, Justice, Fairness: Why should we have to move everywhere and everything because of him?” draws on the experience of women subjected to domestic and sexual abuse. It recommends making it easier for women to stay in their own home when practical and moving the perpetrator instead, as well as other related recommendations for when women are forced to flee domestic abuse. How is the Scottish Government giving serious and significant consideration to those very important matters? In this context, I note the positive engagement of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations on the issue when I met it and Scottish Women’s Aid.
I agree with Bob Doris that housing and domestic abuse is a very serious issue, and I am well aware of the publication that he mentioned, which is based on research that was carried out in Fife. The programme for government committed us to consulting on further protections for people at risk of domestic abuse, through new protective orders that could be used to keep victims of domestic abuse safe by banning perpetrators from their homes. The consultation on that is currently being prepared and will include looking at whether changes are needed to the current system of exclusion orders. I urge colleagues across the chamber, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and others to take part in that consultation and raise these issues as part of that process.