MSP keeps up cam­paign for trav­el­ling do­mes­tic vi­o­lence court

The Oban Times - - News -

MSP KATE FORBES is cam­paig­ing to get a trav­el­ling do­mes­tic abuse court for the High­lands and Is­lands.

The Skye, Lochaber and Bade­noch MSP brought the mat­ter up dur­ing the Jus­tice Port­fo­lio Ques­tions in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment cham­ber last week (Jan­uary 11).

Miss Forbes also sug­gested a need for ded­i­cated procu­ra­tor fis­cals and sher­iffs for such courts to en­sure these sen­si­tive cases can be fully un­der­stood and dealt with ap­pro­pri­ately.

The MSP first brought for­ward the idea of trav­el­ling courts last year af­ter a visit to a Women’s Aid group in her con­stituency.

She said: ‘I’ve spent a con­sid­er­able time speak­ing to Lochaber Women’s Aid where I heard first hand from women that have been sub­jected to do­mes­tic abuse and been in­volved in le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

‘I am con­vinced we can im­prove the le­gal process for these women and there­fore boost con­fi­dence lev­els in the sys­tem to en­sure all crimes of do­mes­tic abuse are re­ported. In ru­ral ar­eas, there are added com­pli­ca­tions of trav­el­ling to the court and in some cases, the per­pe­tra­tor and vic­tim could be trav­el­ling on the same bus.’

She added: ‘Also, be­cause of the low num­bers of cases re­ported, I think sher­iffs and procu­ra­tor fis­cals need more sup­port to have ap­pro­pri­ate train­ing and sen­si­tiv­ity to the cases.’

Miss Forbes de­scribed the suc­cess of do­mes­tic abuse courts in­tro­duced to the cen­tral belt but ex­plained a trav­el­ling court would be more ben­e­fi­cial for the High­lands be­cause parts of the area are re­mote, mean­ing trav­el­ling to a court in In­ver­ness could take just as long as to the cen­tral belt for some High­land women.

She said: ‘ When I first sug­gested the idea in a speech on do­mes­tic abuse courts in Septem­ber, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment promised to con­sider the pro­posal. This demon­strates to me how se­ri­ous they are about tack­ling the abom­i­na­tion of do­mes­tic abuse.’

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