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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 11:24 GMT
Legal move to help abuse victims
Woman in shadow
Tens of thousands of people suffer abuse each year
Police and prosecutors have signed up to a new code of practice for tackling domestic abuse cases in Scotland.

Solicitor General Elish Angiolini said the guidelines would guarantee that victims receive the same "high level of response" across the country.

"This protocol will help to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are afforded as much protection as the law is capable of providing," she said.

The advice has been issued to all procurators fiscal in Scotland.

The protocol was signed by Ms Angiolini and David Strang, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) at a Scottish Women's Aid conference in Crieff.

It takes a lot of courage for people to report domestic abuse and when they do, we must ensure there is consistency in the support provided by the police and the justice systems
Johann Lamont
Deputy Communities Minister
It covers the best way to approach the investigation, reporting and prosecution of domestic abuse cases.

The solicitor general said: "I hope it will instil greater confidence in those experiencing domestic abuse by ensuring that those who are brought into the justice system at their most vulnerable point are properly informed about the decisions which will be taken and have the certainty that their experience of domestic abuse will be met with a response which is sensitive to their particular experience."

Mr Strang said that the Scottish Police Service had made "significant improvements" in the way it responds to domestic abuse.

"This progress has been achieved by listening to victims and those that represent them," he said.

Justice system

"This protocol has been developed from the clear message that we were being given."

Deputy Communities Minister Johann Lamont welcomed the launch of the new code of practice.

"It takes a lot of courage for people to report domestic abuse and when they do, we must ensure there is consistency in the support provided by the police and the justice systems."

More than 36,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported to police in 2002.


SEE ALSO:
Funding support for abuse victims
27 Oct 04 |  Scotland
New approach to domestic abuse
14 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Abuse helpline becomes permanent
08 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Plea for domestic abuse victims
24 Jun 04 |  Scotland


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