A ground-breaking initiative to combat domestic abuse and rehabilitate offenders will be expanded across Scotlamd to help maximise victims’ safety and hold offenders to account for their violence.
The Caledonian System, which is already being delivered in North Ayrshire by Community Justice Ayrshire, is a specialist court-mandated programme working with male perpetrators of domestic abuse. It also aims to improve the lives of affected women and children.
Following the success of the scheme in North Ayrshire and four other community justice authorities, a further £2.8 million is now available to enable all councils to roll out the Caledonian System within their area, enabling more perpetrators to address their behaviour and more support families affected by violence.
The Caledonian System is a direct alternative to custodial sentences. However, if at any point the programme is breached by the perpetrator, the case is returned to court for consideration as to whether a separate sentence should be imposed.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said:
“Levels of domestic abuse remain at unacceptably high levels in Scotland. We know that official figures do not paint the whole picture, as victims are often too afraid to report abuse. We also know domestic abuse disproportionately affects women, with men as the primary perpetrators.
“Put simply, attitudes must change. The Caledonian System’s evaluation indicates that men who completed the programme posed a lower risk to partners, children and others by the end of the programme. Women also reported that they felt safer.
“The funding I have announced will further strengthen our push to eradicate this scourge on society. Domestic abuse offenders need to understand the harm they cause and what they can do to change their behaviour.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This programme was developed in Scotland and is specifically tailored to rehabilitate offenders.
“Evidence shows that the Caledonian System has already yielded positive results in North Ayrshire and beyond, so I am delighted that the SNP Government is investing the funding required to take the programme nationwide and taking decisive action to reduce reoffending and thereby protect vulnerable women and children.”