Approach To Perpetrators

Scotland's national strategy 'Equally Safe' makes the following commitment to it's approach to perpetrators of abuse -

'Men who carry out violence against women and girls are identified early and held to account by the criminal and civil justice system'.

The Scottish Government committed an additional £20m (over 2015 to 2018) to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. This funding is making a real difference through targeted resources to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, with cases involving domestic abuse being sped up with waiting times from first calling to trial being significantly reduced. Other actions taken include:

  • DA Legislation
  • Caledonian System roll out
  • Protective Orders
  • Criminalising of forced marriage in Scotland
  • The introduction of a specific offence for stalking
  • Widening of the legal definition of rape through the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.
  • Scotland now has a single national police force, Police Scotland, which in its first year established the National Rape Task Force and Domestic Abuse Task Force to target the most prolific perpetrators, as well as a Domestic Abuse Co-ordination Unit and Specialist Domestic Abuse Units and Divisional Rape Investigation Units in every local policing division in Scotland. Police Scotland has established a National Honour Based Violence Action Plan and Prostitution Working Group

The Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership (DVAWP) supports the view that violence / abuse is a demonstration of power and control.
There is never any justification for using violence. No one deserves to be abused and victims are never responsible for the violence /abuse they experience

It is DVAWP's view that all perpetrators should be offered an opportunity to understand, address and change their behaviour. Without such opportunities men are unlikely to take responsibility for the violence / abuse they have perpetrated and / or to change their behaviour substantially. The DVAWP also acknowledges that many women and children wish their partner / father to change their behaviour and that, alongside appropriate advice and information for the women and children, work with men is vital in addressing domestic abuse and responding to families' needs / wishes.

The DVAWP supports the view that specialist domestic abuse perpetrator programmes are the preferred approach to perpetrators of domestic abuse, as they clearly place responsibility with the abuser. Domestic abuse is not caused by anger / loss of control, but by complex behaviours which are employed to demonstrate power and control. Anger management, couples counselling, mediation and other alternative measures are not appropriate responses to perpetrators of domestic abuse. Any response must clearly place responsibility with the abuser, acknowledge the significant (and sometimes fatal) dangers of bringing together victim and perpetrator, and recognise the unequal relationship between both parties. Counselling and mediation approaches are not appropriate where there is inequality and unequal bargaining power between the people involved, which risks the perpetrator being supported in his view that he is not entirely responsible for his own behaviour.