New domestic abuse legislation in Scotland set to be scrutinised by MSPs

A Holyrood committee has urged people to have their say on planned new laws that could be used to ban those who commit domestic abuse from their victims’ homes.

MSPs on the Justice Committee are about to start scrutinising proposed new legislation from the Scottish Government.

Committee members have previously expressed an interest in a “short-term legal mechanism” to help abuse victims.

But convener Adam Tomkins (pictured) said they want to know how the Scottish Government will make sure these are only used appropriately.

The new Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill will, if approved, give senior police officers the power to issue a domestic abuse protection notice against someone if they have “reasonable grounds” for believing abuse has occurred.

Under the plans, police will then have to apply to the courts for such a notice, which will require the person who is believed to have committed the abuse to leave the victim’s home – even if it is also where they live – and barring them from entering the property.

Abusers will also be prevented from approaching or contacting their victim and any children under the terms of the notices.

Breaching such a notice could result in a jail sentence, according to the proposed legislation.

Mr Tomkins said: “The committee has previously expressed an interest in having short-term legal mechanisms in place to better support victims of domestic abuse, such as the proposed orders and notices.

“While clearly these may help a number of individuals in difficult situations, this legislation proposes new legal remedies.

“The committee will want to know how these will work in practice and how the Government proposes ensuring their appropriate use.”

People have until December 4 to make a submission to the committee.

Mr Tomkins added: “The committee hopes to gather a wide range of views in order to help us scrutinise these proposals and ensure legislation that works for those in need of the protection it may offer.”

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