Plans for domestic homicide and suicide review move ahead

Plans for domestic homicide and suicide review move ahead

Angela Constance

A new approach aimed at reducing domestic abuse-related homicides and suicides has received backing.

The proposals for a Domestic Homicide and Suicide Review Model would help identify what lessons can be learned and applied following the death of a partner, ex-partner, or child where abuse is suspected. Ministers hope that this will ultimately lead to fewer such deaths.

Nine out of 10 people who took part in a consultation – including those with direct experience of domestic abuse and bereavement – backed the Scottish Government’s plans.

The model will now be developed by the Scottish government’s Domestic Homicide and Suicide Review Taskforce, Model Development Subgroup and Task and Finish Groups.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Nobody should die at the hands of a partner. While overall homicide rates are falling, there remains a significant number involving domestic abuse, where the vast majority of victims are women.

“Our plans would see agencies across justice, health and social care, the third sector and beyond work together to establish what could be done better. It is absolutely right that these reviews should also happen in cases of suicides, as well as homicides, where abuse has been a factor.

“By identifying areas for change and improvement, we can help to prevent further deaths and give a voice to those who have been killed.”

EmilyTest founder and CEO Fiona Drouet, who will chair the Domestic Abuse Related Suicide Task and Finish Group, said: “The decision for Scotland to include domestic abuse-related suicides in the new review model reflects a country that is progressive and recognises the extent of the harms caused by domestic abuse. This decision evidences that our Government values the voices of professionals and lived experience.

“After losing a loved one to suicide, families shouldn’t encounter obstacles when asking authorities to investigate further, regardless of whether the victim was known to domestic abuse services or not. These reviews will be absolutely pivotal in gaining valuable lessons and will go some way to helping us build a safer society. It signifies a positive move towards understanding and addressing the complexities surrounding domestic abuse and its consequences. I feel very privileged to be invited to chair the Task and Finish group and, after losing our daughter in these circumstances, I wholeheartedly commit to working with valued colleagues in the field to get this right for everyone.”

Head of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh John Devaney, who chairs the Model Development Subgroup, said: “The findings from the consultation on the key elements of the new domestic homicide and suicide review process is an important milestone in the considerations of the Taskforce.

“It is positive to note the overwhelming support for the core purpose of the review process, and the key aspects that the Taskforce should ensure are covered by future reviews. I’m very grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute, particularly those with experience of losing a family member to fatal domestic abuse.”

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