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Specialist domestic abuse court to be piloted in Edinburgh

A domestic abuse court is to be piloted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. The specialist court aims to improve the way in which allegations of domestic abuse are dealt with in the criminal justice system.


Specialist prosecutors, police liaison officers, advocacy workers and Sheriffs will combine to deal with all domestic abuse prosecutions from the South and East Command Area of the city.


All domestic abuse offences committed in these areas from 9th December onwards are being dealt with by this new multi-agency approach. The first court will be held on 7th February 2012.


The new court will mean better provision for victims, who will be offered support from specialist agencies with expertise in domestic abuse.


In particular, Edinburgh Domestic Abuse Court Service will be available to assist female victims throughout the criminal process, while male victims will be offered support from ASSIST (Advocacy Support Safety Information Services Together). The support workers will also act as a link to the police, prosecution and other services throughout the process.


The multi-agency pilot is the culmination of intensive planning and co-operation, and aims to start trials within eight weeks of an accused's first appearance - half the average time it takes to bring such cases to trial currently. This will provide a swift and effective response for victims, and ensure offenders are dealt with more quickly.


Lothian & Borders Police and the Procurator Fiscal's office at Edinburgh will work closely to investigate and prosecute cases. All the cases will be dealt with in court by designated prosecutors and sheriffs to build expertise, consistency and quality of response.


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