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by Kirsteen Paterson
03 November 2022
New domestic abuse task force to prevent murder of women in Scotland

New domestic abuse task force to prevent murder of women in Scotland

A new Scottish taskforce has been set up to prevent women being killed in cases where "domestic abuse is suspected".

The move aims to spot warning signs before abuse escalates.

Homicide figures published last month recorded a record low in 2021-22, but revealed a rise in the number of female victims. A partner or ex-partner was to blame in more than half (56 per cent) of the 16 cases.

Now Scottish Women's Aid, health boards, police, social work, Cosla and victims' representatives will create the country's first domestic homicide review system as part of a taskforce dedicated to saving the lives of women and children.

The multi-agency team will look at approaches used in other countries to "better identify and respond effectively to the risks associated with abuse and ultimately prevent further deaths".

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said: "Men's violence against women and girls is one of the most devastating and fundamental violations of human rights. 

"Any form of abuse is wrong, and in many cases the victim and perpetrator may have been in contact with services ranging from drug, alcohol and mental health services where there may be some signs of risk that can be identified and dealt with at an earlier stage before it escalates to homicide."

Work will begin in the coming weeks, and it is expected that proposals will go out for public consultation next year.

Scottish Women's Aid chief executive Dr Marsha Scott said: "We have long called for a domestic abuse killings review model in Scotland that makes the deaths and murders of women and children visible, and we welcome the Scottish Government moving in this direction today.

"We must create a system that is prepared to learn lessons swiftly and that takes into account all deaths because of domestic abuse – including deaths by suicide and killings of children – and we are looking forward to discussions about how we create a Scottish model that is robust and fit for purpose.

"One death because of domestic abuse is one too many."

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