A new pilot scheme aims to improve the service received by West Lothian domestic abuse victims from the criminal justice system. A dedicated domestic abuse court is being piloted at Livingston Sheriff Court with effect from 16th February
The court brings together the following agencies who currently work with those affected by domestic abuse:
* the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ;
* Lothian and Borders Police;
* Scottish Court Service;
* Victim Support Scotland's Witness Service ;and
* West Lothian Council's Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Team (DASAT).
The pilot aims to commence trials within 8 to 10 weeks of an accused's first appearance in court. This swift response will be coupled with the offer of support to victims by a DASAT worker who will provide the link between the victim and the criminal court process. All the cases will be dealt with in court by designated prosecutors and sheriffs to build expertise, consistency and quality of response.
"Our priorities in responding to domestic abuse are to protect the lives of both adults and children who are at risk as a result of crimes of this nature.” said Detective Inspector Matt Paden of Lothian and Borders Police Public Protection Unit. "This multi-agency approach is geared towards preventing and reducing domestic abuse. The introduction of the first Domestic Abuse Court in West Lothian will undoubtedly enhance this process."