Doing more to tackle domestic abuse
£2.8 million to expand programme to reduce risk of re-offending.
A "pioneering" programme that has been proven to change the behaviour of domestic abuse perpetrators is being rolled out to six more local authorities including Scotland's biggest city.
The Caledonian System is a specialist, court-mandated scheme to combat domestic abuse through the rehabilitation of male perpetrators, and works to improve the lives of the women and children affected.
A total of £2.8 million in the latest round will double the programme's potential capacity to reach offenders.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the funding on a visit to ASSIST in Glasgow, a specialist domestic abuse advocacy and support service focused on reducing risk and improving the safety of victims.
"Domestic abuse is a problem that continues to affect every community in Scotland. It is a priority for the Scottish Government to tackle violence against women and expand pioneering initiatives, like the Caledonian System, which combines a robust programme for male offenders, aimed at changing their behaviour, with a focus on reducing the risk of harm to women and children.
"Funding to expand the availability of the Caledonian System is one of the measures we have put in place to protect victims and hold perpetrators to account, including strengthening the law and passing the Domestic Abuse Act earlier this year.
"Evidence shows men who have completed this programme posed a lower risk to their families while women felt safer, so I am pleased this innovative approach will be more widely available for courts to consider."
Mhairi McGowan, Head of ASSIST and Domestic Abuse Services for Community Safety Glasgow, said:
"I am delighted that Sheriffs in Glasgow's Domestic Abuse Court will have Caledonian as a sentencing option. Victims of domestic abuse, whose partners or ex-partners are prosecuted just want the violence and abuse to stop. They don't want anyone else to go through what they have suffered.
"The ethos at the heart of ASSIST is about working in partnership and we are very pleased to be able to play our part in the extension of Caledonian to Glasgow."
Councillor Jen Layden, Glasgow City Council's Convenor for Equalities and Human Rights, welcomed the funding announcement.
She said: "This new funding will enable us to significantly develop our existing services and commitment to tackling domestic abuse. Focusing on breaking the pattern of domestic abuse is the best way of protecting women and children in very dangerous and damaging situations. The Caledonian Programme rightly gives priority to working directly with women and children to increase their safety and security, as well as targeting, challenging and seeking to change the behaviour of perpetrators."
The local authorities awarded funding are: Dundee City in partnership with Perth and Kinross, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, and South Lanarkshire.
The Scottish Government is strengthening the law and improving public safety by providing better protection to victims of violence against women and girls, and holding those committing these crimes to account.
The Caledonian System is not an alternative to prosecution but is a direct alternative to custody and other high tariff community sentences given after an accused has been convicted of a domestic abuse related offence.
An evaluation of the Caledonian System was published in November 2016.