ABUSE: Number of people dying as a result of domestic abuse could be six times higher than official figures

By Bill Heaney

Adrienne McCartney spoke to the Sunday Post and shared her harrowing story about how, time after time, the police and prosecutors let her down in a case of domestic abuse, according to Tory justice spokesperson Jamie Greene.

He told the Scottish Parliament: “Last Sunday, the Sunday Post [reporter Marian Scott] revealed that, sadly, Adrienne has since passed away. Her solicitor said: ‘She should be here today and the fact that she is not is an indictment of the system and how it addresses domestic abuse’.

“One leading academic believes that the number of people who are dying as a result of domestic abuse could, due to ill health and suicide, be six times higher than official statistics.

“Given that this week in Parliament we are putting such a focus on the elimination of violence against women, why is the justice system in Scotland currently failing so many vulnerable women, and what legislation is the First Minister and her Government proposing to introduce to address those horrific crimes against women?”

Concerned about domestic abuse – Sunday Post reporter Marian Scott; Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC; First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Tory Justice spokesperson Jamie Greene; Helena Kennedy KC and High Court judge Lady Dorrian.

Nicola Sturgeon conveyed her “deep heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Adrienne McCartney”, and explained: “Police and prosecutors operate independently of Government, so I will not go into details that would stray into their independent roles.

I will say, and have said many times before, that I do not believe that Scotland—or any country, for that matter—yet does enough when it comes to preventing and responding to domestic abuse.

“The justice system has a very large part to play in that, but—I reflected on this earlier—we need to do more to tackle the behaviours that cause domestic abuse in order to prevent it in the first place.

“The Lord Advocate [Dorothy Bain KC ] is a big advocate for and champion of doing that. The justice system also has to respond better to support victims of domestic abuse; I know that that is a real priority for her.

“More widely, I have already spoken about the Helena Kennedy report on misogyny. We also have proposals from Lady Dorrian in relation to how the justice system deals with cases of sexual violence and sexual offences, which will include domestic abuse.

The Government will take forward many of those proposals in legislative form during the remainder of this parliamentary session.

Some of them will be controversial, so I expect very rigorous debate and scrutiny in Parliament. However, I hope that, as we consider those proposals, Jamie Greene’s very good question will stay in our minds, and that we find ways to unite to make the necessary improvements to our justice system so that victims of domestic abuse are not let down, as they are too often, here in Scotland and across the world.”

West Dunbartonshire has one of the worst records in Scotland for domestic abuse.


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