Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today repeated his party's calls to establish a commission to tackle violence against women and called for this to deliver recommendations to parliament within a year.
Data shows a significant rise in the reporting of domestic abuse during the lockdown period. According to Government statistics published this summer, there were 33,425 charges reported in 2020-21 which were identified as being related to domestic abuse, the highest number reported since 2015-16. Furthermore, statistics published this week have shown that in 2020-21, 1,045 stalking charges were reported to the COPFS. Of these, 592 were identified as domestic abuse.
In March Scottish Liberal Democrats put forward proposals for an expert commission to prevent violence against women and girls. Responding, Cabinet Secretary Huma Yousaf, said that the Government “would certainly be willing to explore the idea of a commission, with an open mind” and that “a commission might help bring all he strands of work together.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Domestic abuse is a hideous, controlling, and life-threatening crime. Too many people experience it in their homes, where they are supposed to be safest, and it is time to take a firm stand and demand urgent measures.
"In the past the Scottish Government has expressed an openness to work with us in exploring a commission which would bring together all the different strands of work related to violence against women. I believe that this expert commission should be tasked with reporting back to Parliament with recommendations within a year.
"I am disappointed that the new Cabinet Secretary rejected these proposals today. Domestic abuse figures are trending in the wrong direction so simply relying on what is being done already risks letting vulnerable people down."