5. Further reporting Further reporting
5.1. Section 14 of the second Scottish Act requires Scottish Ministers to report on SSIs made by Scottish Ministers where the main purpose relates to coronavirus. This provision does not apply to SSIs made by Scottish Ministers under the first or second Scottish Acts or the UK Act. Information on SSIs, to which section 14 of the second Scottish Act applies, is included at section 8 of this report. In this report information has been included on a total of 100 SSIs – 9 of which are new to this reporting period - which are in scope for reporting under section 14 of the second Scottish Act.
Information about domestic abuse
5.2. Section 15A of the first Scottish Act and section 13 of the second Scottish Act require Scottish Ministers to take account of any information about the nature and number of incidents of domestic abuse occurring during the reporting period to which the review relates, given to them, or published by the Scottish Police Authority, or the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland. Further, Scottish Ministers are required to explain in the report on that review, prepared under section 15 of the first Scottish Act and section 12 of the second Scottish Act, how the information was taken into account. The legislation does not require this information to be taken into account in the review of the powers under the UK Act, however we have made a decision to do so in order to ensure consistency in our approach and ensure the fullest possible consideration is given to this information.
5.3. In terms of our requirements under the legislation, consideration has been given to the provisions in the Scottish and UK Acts where domestic abuse may be deemed relevant. Where information on the nature and number of incidents of domestic abuse may be deemed of relevance to a provision, this has been considered as part of the assessment of whether the provision remains necessary.
5.4. The information used to support the review was published on 24 June 2021, as part of the Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services data report on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the justice system. The data from Police Scotland highlights that looking cumulatively across April to May 2021, domestic abuse incidents were 10% lower than the equivalent period in 2020 and 2% lower than the equivalent period in 2019 (10,418 incidents recorded in April – May 2021, 11,561 incidents in April – May 2020, and 10,645 incidents in April – May 2019). The proportion of April 2021 to May 2021 incidents that include the recording of at least one crime or offence was 42.6%. Police Scotland’s Management Information Report suggests an equivalent figure of 43.6% for 2020-21.
5.5. Separate figures on crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 are available from the Recorded Crime in Scotland monthly Official Statistics. There were 132 such crimes recorded by the police in May 2021, this is 4% lower than May 2020 (138 crimes) and 16% lower than May 2019 (157 crimes).
5.6. For the purposes of this reporting period, the information on the nature and number of incidents of domestic abuse has not impacted on the outcome of the assessment of whether the provisions remain necessary.
5.7. The Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring that data is collected which improves our understanding of and responses to domestic abuse. To that end, a mixed methods research programme on the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 is currently underway to consider the experiences of adult and child victims who have been involved in a domestic abuse court case in Scotland since April 2019, which would include experiences throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings from the research are expected to be published in Spring 2022.
Additional reporting requirements
5.8. Schedule 4, paragraph 12 of the second Scottish Act requires the Scottish Ministers to lay a report before Parliament on their responses to requests for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2020. The sixth ‘Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020: report on the Scottish Ministers' responses to requests for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2020’ was laid in Parliament and published on 9 June 2021.