§ Mr. Ernie Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is considering any new measures to deal with the problem of domestic violence in the light of the report 324W by the Women's National Commission entitled "Violence Against Women", a copy of which has been sent to him; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lang
Though none of the recommendations in this report was directed specifically to my right hon. and learned Friend, action consistent with the measures recommended by the Women's National Commission is taking place in Scotland. For example, the subject of domestic violence, with particular reference to the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981, now features prominently in training programmes for police officers both at the Scottish police college and within all Scottish police forces and revised guidelines to Chief Constables on the operation of the Act were issued last November by my noble and learned Friend, the Lord Advocate. Research has been commissioned to assess the operation of the 1981 Act, and in the light of the findings, which will be published, we shall consider the need for any further action. We continue, too, to give financial assistance through the urban programme and grants to voluntary bodies to assist in the provision of refuges for women and children and in the operation of victim support schemes.
§ Mr. Ernie Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with police authorities about (a) training, (b) procedures and (c) information, liaison and referral systems in relation to police duties with regard to incidents of domestic violence; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lang
Matters relating to the training of police officers at the Scottish police college are kept under continuing review on behalf of my right hon. and learned Friend by the board of governors and other committees at the Scottish Police College on which the Scottish Home and Health Department, the police associations and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities are all represented. Training on the subject of domestic violence and related procedural matters, with particular reference to the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981, now features prominently in courses at the college and in training programmes mounted by the Scottish police forces; and this has been given added emphasis by the revised guidelines on the Act which were issued recently by my noble and learned Friend, the Lord Advocate. The police service is fully aware of the value of victim support schemes and co-operates fully in their operation.