Publication - FOI/EIR release

Obligations in legislation around domestic abuse and coercion of children: FOI release

Published: 4 Dec 2020

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
4 Dec 2020
Obligations in legislation around domestic abuse and coercion of children: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000101069
Date received: 21 Oct 2020
Date responded: 17 Nov 2020
Information requested

What is the formal process whereby a now non-primary caregiving parents enacts their obligations under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, and the Domestic Abuse Scotland Act, to make a report of domestic abuse by the use of sustained coercive control for their child/children, and third parties? whilst the background given above explains that multi agency gate keeping is in place by the use of inaccurate, false and libellous data iVPD/VPD based on malicious falsehoods and hearsay without any evidence, which is in free flow transmission through every agency, and the urgency of the situation being the paramount wellbeing of the child is not being given any cognisance nor is the evidential reports by the now non care giving parent, who is the sustained victim of severe domestic violence with records held in a court of law as to previous corroborated domestic violence, and who is in effect 'STATE alienated' by the Scottish Government and her funded partner agencies including Police Scotland and Third Sector Organisations and NGO's, as Police Scotland are failing to act on legitimate reports of crimes with substantial evidence?

Response

The Scottish Government is unable to comment on or intervene in individual cases however I hope the information provided below is helpful.

Firstly with regards to your question about how to report domestic abuse by the use of sustained coercive control, this would be the same as reporting any other crime i.e. by contacting Police Scotland. If the abuse is ongoing please always phone 101, or 999 in an emergency.

If you have concerns regarding a victim of domestic abuse you can also;

  • Speak to the police in person by attending at your local police station.
  • Use Police Scotland’s online reporting form if you are unable to go to your local police station (or prefer to remain anonymous).
  • Or contact Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234, where support is available 24/7.

More information is available on the Police Scotland website: https://www.scotland.police.uk/keepsafe/domestic-abuse/what-can-i-do-if-this-is-happening-to-someone-i-know/

In the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, there is no duty in contact and residence cases to report domestic abuse. Section 117A of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 requires the court when considering whether or not to make an order in relation to contact and residence the need to protect the child from any abuse, or the risk of any abuse.

If a parent still has parental rights and responsibilities in respect of a child, then section 1(1)(a) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 creates a responsibility on the parent of a child, “to safeguard and promote the child’s health, development and welfare… in so far as compliance with this section is practicable and in the interests of the child”. Reporting concerns of abuse of the child by another person, to the relevant authorities, would almost certainly fall within the breadth of the obligation to safeguard the child’s welfare created by this section.

There is no duty under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 to report domestic abuse.

The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 gives Scottish Ministers the power establish a register of Child Welfare Reporters. This will ensure that Child Welfare Reporters are subject to suitable and consistent qualification and training requirements. This will include the impact of domestic abuse. The Financial Memorandum which accompanied the Children (Scotland) Bill when it was introduced into the Scottish Parliament included an indicative timetable for implementation of these provisions of the Act.

You may wish to seek legal advice. The Scottish Child Law Centre is one of only a few dedicated providers of guidance and information on matters of law concerning children and young people, providing services throughout the whole of Scotland. They help children and young people, their families and carers, and professionals working for and with children by providing free expert legal advice and information through an advice line, website and email. Their telephone advice line is open Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4.00pm on 0131 667 6333. Children and young people can call free on a landline on 0800 328 8970 and from a mobile on 0300 3301421. Their website can be accessed at www.sclc.org.uk, or they can be contacted by email at enquiries@sclc.org.uk or or advice@sclc.org.uk. They can also be contacted by mail at Scottish Child Law Centre, 54 East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, EH8 9HD.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG