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Multi-agency taskforce to tackle domestic homicides

A taskforce is being set up in Scotland as the number of female victims of domestic homicides increases.

Representatives from a number of relevant parties, including Police Scotland, will come together in a bid to tackle domestic homicides.

Local government body Cosla, Scottish Women’s Aid and victims’ representatives will be among those working directly with the force to develop a Scotland-specific homicide review system.   

The taskforce will examine already available approaches in the UK and abroad, pulling on evidence and best practice.

Homicide rates across Scotland more than halved in 2021/22 – a record low since logging began in 1976.

But the number of female victims increased from 10 to 16, and more than half (56%) of them were killed by a partner or ex-partner.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said: “Any form of abuse is wrong, and in many cases the victim and perpetrator may have been in contact with services ranging from drugs, alcohol and mental health services, where there may be signs of risk that can be identified and dealt with at an earlier stage before it escalates to homicide.

“Domestic homicide reviews are not about finger-pointing or apportioning blame among agencies.

“This is fundamentally about learning lessons, identifying areas for change and improvement within and across agencies, preventing further domestic homicides and giving a voice to the relatives and victims of those affected by such devastating crimes.”

The taskforce is set to meet within the next few weeks and begin developing the review model. Proposals are set to go to public consultation next year.

Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “We must create a system that is prepared to learn lessons swiftly and that takes into account all deaths because of domestic abuse – including deaths by suicide and killings of children – and we are looking forward to discussions about how we create a Scottish model that is robust and fit for purpose.”

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