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June 28, 2010

Senior lecturer and postgraduate student at Glasgow Law School are trying to help protect victims of domestic abuse

Proposed new legislation drawn up by a senior law lecturer and a postgraduate student at Glasgow Law School, designed to improve protection for the victims of domestic abuse is to go before the Scottish Parliament on 1st June 2010.

Clare Connelly, senior lecturer in the University of Glasgow Law School, and James Clark, co-wrote the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill on behalf of Rhoda Grant MSP.

Currently many victims of domestic abuse are denied access to justice through the lack of legal aid, instead they are forced to pay for expensive civil protection orders. However the abusers themselves are actually provided with non-means tested legal representation.

Many domestic abuse victims are unable to obtain non-harassment orders due to the ‘course of conduct’ requirement which requires evidence of two incidences of harassing behaviour.

The victims also often have to pay to bring a civil action for breach of interdict themselves which can be a lengthy, complicated and potentially expensive process.

The new Bill, which has cross-party support, aims to get rid of the current requirement to show a ‘course of conduct’ before a non-harassment order can be granted by a civil court. It also intends to make legal aid free to all for an application to a civil court for an interdict with a power of arrest, or a non-harassment order, where domestic abuse is involved. It wants to prevent victims having to pay for their own protection, as well as to make it a criminal offence to breach an interdict with a power of arrest.

Clare Connelly said: 'This Bill will make a significant and much needed improvement to access to justice and protection for those subjected to domestic abuse.'

The Private Members Bill will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 1st June 2010.

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Content added on 28th June 2010.

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