The Scottish Sentencing Council has today published a new research report reviewing the sentencing of offences involving domestic abuse in Scotland.

The literature review, carried out by a group of expert academics from Strathclyde University and the University of Glasgow, will help to inform the Council’s work on developing sentencing guidelines for domestic abuse offences.

This report explores some of the laws used to prosecute domestic abuse in Scotland and it also looks at the role of specialist courts, and the experiences of victims of these offences.

The research considers the penalties and data relating to proceedings and convictions, as well as recent changes to the legal landscape surrounding domestic abuse in Scotland. 

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented disruption of court proceedings and living situations. Associated periods of lockdown have dramatically affected domestic abuse by making it more likely that couples stayed at home together, by increasing isolation from support structures, and by posing challenges for reporting.

The introduction of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which includes provision that a ‘course of abusive behaviour’ can be treated as an offence, also represented a significant legal development at a time of increased global awareness of domestic abuse.