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Rennie welcomes Crown Office action on domestic violence

September 26, 2013 10:51 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has today welcomedWillie RennieWillie Rennie an announcement from the Crown Office of an appointment of a specialist prosecutor to strengthen its response to domestic abuse cases.

The role will have oversight of domestic abuse cases across Scotland and will lead the ongoing review of domestic abuse prosecution policy.

This comes after Willie Rennie called for domestic abuse prosecution guidelines to be reviewed in his speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat conference earlier this month. Mr Rennie made the calls after leading a campaign for MSP Bill Walker to vacate his seat from parliament when he was found guilty on 23 separate counts of domestic abuse.

Mr Rennie joined domestic abuse campaigners in calling for a review as existing guidelines meant that Bill Walker's case was heard by a lower level court, where he faced a maximum 12 month prison sentence.

Mr Rennie had previously urged the Scottish Government to review prosecution guidelines for domestic abuse cases to take into account the corrosive and alarming nature of ongoing, abusive and controlling behaviour during the Holyrood debate on the legislative programme.

Commenting on the announcement from the Crown Office, Mr Rennie said:

"Members of the Scottish Parliament spoke with one voice against domestic violence and Bill Walker when he was convicted.

"Now this parliament can make something good out of Bill Walker's repulsive acts. I am pleased that the Government has agreed to a review of the prosecution guidelines for domestic violence. The appointment of a specialist prosecutor will help ensure there is a lasting change to our approach to domestic violence.

"Where there is a pattern of abuse it is important that we consider the overall impact that weeks, months or even years of violence has had on victims.

"Too often, violent incidents are treated as isolated events.

"We should escalate the seriousness of these matters to reflect the overall impact of the fear and alarm that ongoing, abusive and controlling behaviour has."