5. 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 – 5 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 from Police Scotland to support the review was published on 29 April 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 2020 to March 2021, domestic abuse incidents were 3% higher than the equivalent period in 2019-20 (64,140 incidents recorded in 2020-21 and 62,161 incidents in 2019-20). The proportion of April 2020 to March 2021 incidents that include the recording of at least one crime or offence was 40%. Police Scotland’s Management Information Report suggests an equivalent figure of 43.9% for 2019-20.
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 1,569 such crimes recorded by the police in April 2020 to March 2021, compared to 1,690 during the equivalent period the preceding year (down 7%).
5.6. For the purposes of this reporting period, 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, nonetheless, the requirement to consider this information on domestic abuse remains a valued part of the reporting process and assists in ensuring that our response to domestic abuse continues to be prioritised. The Scottish Government continues to work with third sector partners to fully understand the impact of Covid-19 and encourage people to access mainstream and specialist support services available to them. To support this, the Scottish Government allocated an additional £5.75 million last year to frontline services so they could respond to an increase in demand from victims of abuse and recently launched our new Delivering Equally Safe Fund (£18m per annum) inviting applications from public bodies and third sector organisations, more information is available at: Delivering Equally Safe - Inspiring Scotland
5.7. It also remains a priority that we take a strong collaborative multi-agency response to our recovery and domestic abuse interventions. We will shortly be taking forward a series of deep dive sessions to develop policy around our domestic abuse risk assessment and interventions for domestic abuse. These sessions will focus on key themes like risk assessment process, information sharing and training.
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 fifth ‘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 April 2021. The sixth report will be laid in the Scottish Parliament and published in June.