Tory MSP’s Bill to tackle domestic abuse gains cross-party support

By Lucy Ashton

A bill to tackle the scourge of domestic abuse has gained cross-party support from 41 MSPs representing the SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives.

The Domestic Abuse Prevention Bill introduced by Pam Gosal MSP will now move forward to be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Conservative MSP said she hopes her bill will allow Scotland to become a “world-leader in preventing and tackling domestic abuse” crimes, which have reached record highs in recent years.

Scottish Government statistics show there were 64,807 domestic abuse incidents last year, over half of which were repeat offences.

Supporters of Pam Gosals Bill include Ash Regan (Alba), Christine Graham (SNP), Monica Lennon (Labour) and Beatrice Wishart (Scottish Liberal Democrat).

Ms Gosal said she was delighted with the “significant” level of cross-party support for her bill, which far exceeds the 18 MSPs necessary for it to progress.

In addition to Scottish Conservative MSPs, the bill was backed by the SNP’s Kenneth Gibson, Christine Grahame, Michelle Thomson, Ash Regan and Fergus Ewing; Labour’s Daniel Johnson, Neil Bibby, Paul Sweeney, Foysol Choudhury and Monica Lennon; and Beatrice Wishart from the Lib Dems.

Now it has gained cross-party support, the next stage involves the legislation being fully drafted before it is presented to MSPs for debate in the chamber.

Ms Gosal’s bill would introduce a reporting system for domestic abuse, which would take the form of a register, similar to the sex offender’s register.

It would also introduce mandatory rehabilitation measures for offenders convicted of domestic abuse and increase education around the subject, both of which would help to prevent domestic violence from occurring and reduce re-offending rates.

During the consultation process for the bill, 23 organisations voiced support for it, and more than 91 per cent of all respondents to the consultation were supportive, with 86 per cent of respondents saying they were “fully supportive”.

Pam Gosal said: “I am delighted that my bill has achieved significant cross-party support and that we are one step closer to passing this vital legislation.

“Thank you to the many SNP, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs who have put politics to one side and backed my bill so we can help survivors and stop the appalling crime of domestic abuse.

“My bill would create more accessible support for victims, increase public knowledge and awareness of domestic abuse, and provide police with more resources to tackle these awful crimes.

“While there is still some way to go, I hope that one day soon, my bill will become law and Scotland can be a world-leader in preventing and tackling domestic abuse.”

Top picture: Conservative MSP Pam Gosal in committee at Holyrood.

Serial abuser jailed for waterboarding partner

Glasgow Sheriff Court
Scott O’Sullivan was jailed for 50 months at Glasgow Sheriff Court

A man who waterboarded his partner while she watched an episode of Friends has been jailed for 50 months.

Scott O’Sullivan tried to drown the woman by putting a towel over her face and pouring water on it.

A court heard how O’Sullivan targeted his partner during a six-year campaign of abuse.

The 40-year-old was found guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday (Tuesday) of assaulting the woman to her severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

O’Sullivan, from Drumchapel, also slammed the woman’s face into a mirror and stabbed her hand with a knife.

The offences took place between 2004 and 2010 at properties in the city.

He was also convicted of assaulting another woman between August 2012 and May 2014.

‘Extreme and serious’

Sheriff Patrick Hughes imposed a five-year extended sentence where O’Sullivan will be under supervision upon his release from prison.

He said: “Both charges you were convicted of are of an extreme and serious nature.

“A troubling aspect is asphyxiation which is viewed seriously by the courts.”

The court was told that the waterboard incident was in 2004 or 2005 while the woman sat on the couch watching an episode of Friends.

The woman told police in a statement: “He came up behind me with a wet towel and put it on my face from behind then pulled my head back.

“He then started pouring a bottle of water over my face trying to drown me.

“I couldn’t catch my breath, I thought I was ready for passing out.”

O’Sullivan was also given a 10-year non-harassment order forbidding him from contacting both women.

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