Information provided through the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland has for the first time resulted in a successful prosecution.
Robert Burke, aged 54 and from Fife, pleaded guilty in November to offences including firing a shotgun at a former partner. He appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday, Wednesday 7th December, where he received 190 hours of community service.
The investigation into Burke began when Police Scotland received information about him under the ‘Right to Ask’ element of DSDAS, where a person makes an application to police for information about an individual. Following this application and the concerns raised, officers carried out a number of enquiries and Burke was subsequently charged with offences relating to domestic abuse and damage.
Detective Inspector Jim Leeson of the Fife Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit said: “Burke had not come to police attention in the past – domestic abuse by its very nature frequently happens behind closed doors and in this case went unreported for years. We acknowledge that speaking out, whether you are a victim of or witness domestic abuse, can be extremely difficult and along with a number of support and advocacy organisations, the scheme exists to give these people a voice and allow police and partners to take appropriate action.
“In this case one of the offences happened 30 years ago, but the scheme still allowed us to receive the information, investigate and finally bring Burke to justice. He now has a criminal record and is known to police and our public protection partners so we can continue to take steps to reduce the risk of further harm.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan from National Safer Communities added: “The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland has been very successful since it was launched, and in its first year of operation 1,044 requests were made with 443 disclosures made. Every disclosure made is very carefully considered and where additional action can be taken, as in Burke’s case, we will.
“Domestic abuse is a priority for Police Scotland and DSDAS stands as an example of our commitment. Every disclosure through the scheme is helping to change lives by preventing people becoming victims, and I am pleased that so many people trust the scheme to be able to pass vital information to us in confidence.”