Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill

Remit

The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee is seeking views on the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 March 2017. The Bill creates a new offence of abusive behaviour towards a person’s partner or ex-partner. It also includes associated reforms to criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing.

Read the Bill and its accompanying documents.

Key issues

The policy objective of the Bill is to improve how the justice system responds to domestic abuse. The Committee welcomes evidence on any aspect of the Bill. This could include views on the following questions:

  1. Do you agree with the proposal in the Bill to create a new offence of abusive behaviour towards a person’s partner or ex-partner covering both physical violence and non-physical abuse?
  2. Do you consider that the proposed offence is needed to address a gap in the existing law which currently makes it difficult to prosecute some forms of domestic abuse?
  3. Do you have any views on the definition of the offence, such as the requirement for a course of behaviour, the definition of abusive behaviour, or the defence that the behaviour was reasonable in all the circumstances?
  4. The offence is restricted to abuse between partners and ex-partners. Do you agree with this approach? For example, during the Scottish Government’s consultation on a draft offence, concerns were raised that it did not properly reflect the impact of domestic abuse on children. The Scottish Government has sought to address this concern in the Bill, primarily by providing that the offence will be aggravated where it involves a child. Do you have any views on this aspect of the Bill?
  5. Do you have any views on factors which might impact on the reporting, investigation and prosecution of the offence?
  6. The Bill makes a number of reforms to criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing. For example, it would prohibit the accused in a domestic abuse case from personally conducting the defence. Do you agree with this prohibition?
  7. The Bill would also require the court in a domestic abuse case to consider making a non-harassment order. What are your views on this approach?

How to submit written evidence

Before making a submission, please read our policy on treatment of written evidence. In line with that policy, submissions will normally be published on our website. We recognise that in some circumstances people may prefer for their evidence to be treated as confidential or published anonymously. If you wish to do this, please make this clear when submitting your evidence.

Written submissions should be reasonably brief and typewritten in Word format (preferably no more than 4-6 sides of A4 in total).

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Monday 1 May 2017.

Owing to the timescales normally required for the processing and analysis of evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the advance agreement of the clerk.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically. These should be sent to:
justicecommittee@parliament.scot

You may also send a hard copy of written submissions to:

Justice Committee
Scottish Parliament
Holyrood
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

We welcome written evidence in any language.

Further information

For further information about the Committee’s work on the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill please contact the clerks by email at justicecommittee@parliament.scot or by phone on 0131 348 5407.