By Naomi Mills
VICTIMS of domestic abuse are to be supported through a new specialist court in the capital.
Edinburgh Sheriff court is set to pilot the domestic abuse court which hopes to see an improvement in the way that domestic abuse is dealt with in current criminal justice system.
The new system will see a collective effort between specialist prosecutors, police liaison officers, advocacy workers and Sheriffs to provide better provisions and support for victims in the South and East of the city throughout their case.
Adrian Cottam, Assistant District Procurator Fiscal atEdinburgh, who led the development of the pilot on behalf of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said:
“Domestic abuse has a significant impact on victims, their families and our society.
“We know it is under-reported but also recognise the difficulties victims have in finding the strength to come to court, often after years of abuse.
“This pilot will allow the prosecution and our Victim Information and Advice service to continue to show its strong response to this crime and build a better service to victims through multi-agency specialist working.”
The first court will be held after the New Year on February 7th and will see the accused persons being tried within eight weeks of their first trial, dramatically reducing the average 16 weeks it currently takes.
Val Waugh, advocacy worker for the Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court Service said:
“This is an excellent opportunity to give victims a voice within the criminal justice system and give them the strength not only to report these crimes but to give evidence against the perpetrators.
“We have learned from the excellent work being carried out by ASSIST in the West of Scotland and will aim to bring the same values and degree of care and professionalism offered by them to this pilot and to help victims of domestic abuse in the south and east of the city.”