Scotland politics

Number of tagged domestic abusers more than doubles in five years

electronic tag Image copyright Science Photo Library

The number of domestic abusers electronically tagged after being convicted has more than doubled in the past five years, figures show.

A total off 110 people were sentenced to a restriction of liberty order in 2014-15, compared to 44 in 2010-11.

The Scottish government said the increase could reflect a greater emphasis on tackling the problem from police and prosecutors.

The Conservatives said it should not be an alternative to jail for abusers.

The party's justice spokesman Douglas Ross, who requested the data from the Scottish Parliament, said: "Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime and the punishment handed down by the courts must protect both victims and the public."

'Extra investment'

He added: "Electronic tagging is certainly a useful tool in the box in this regard, but we need to avoid a situation where it is being used as a means to reduce the prison population when even a short custodial sentence might be more appropriate.

"The Scottish government also needs an integrated approach to domestic abuse offenders which focuses on public protection on the one hand, and rehabilitation on the other."

The Scottish government said an extra £20m was being invested over three years in addition to £11.8m annual funding to tackle violence against women, including domestic abuse.

A spokesman said: "This has already boosted resources to courts and crown to reduce court waiting times for domestic abuse cases while we have also extended measures to support vulnerable witnesses, such as giving evidence via video link, with automatic access to such support for alleged victims of domestic abuse.

"Evidence indicates that community sentences, including electronic monitoring, are more effective at reducing reoffending than short prison sentences, part of the reason why Scotland currently has the lowest reconviction rate in 16 years.

"Clearly, we are listening to the views of family members affected by people who are tagged as we consider how to take forward electronic monitoring in Scotland."