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Preventing Future Drowning Fatalities in Scotland

   Preventing Future Drowning Fatalities in Scotland

Part of my role at RoSPA is to chair the Data Subgroup of Water Safety Scotland. The work of the subgroup is guided by Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy, which has a key objective to explore opportunities to work collaboratively following a water-related incident in order to ensure all lessons are learnt and preventative measures utilised.

In order to fulfil this objective, several activities have been set including an investigation into how water-related incidents are currently reviewed in Scotland. Over the past 12 months, I have led the data subgroup to publish a report entitled Preventing Future Fatalities – Improving Water-Related Fatality Data in Scotland which details the information found in our investigation.

Our report found that in Scotland, there is currently no formal requirement for a systematic review of accidental drowning fatalities.

The main law, The Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act 2016, places a mandatory duty to investigate a fatality if it happened in employment, legal custody or was a child in secure accommodation. This means that all other accidental fatalities such as drowning are discretionary.

Our report contrasted this with other countries such as England and Wales and suggests that there are three options to improve fatality data in Scotland:
  • An amendment to the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016, or
  • The introduction of a statutory review process, similar to the Child Death Review process, or
  • A voluntary review process.
The next task for the data subgroup over the next 12 to 24 months is to investigate methods of trialling a voluntary review process and research the benefits and limitations.

For more information and to read our full report, visit:

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development manager
Image by Ivor Bond from Pixabay
Posted: 5/27/2020 11:07:38 AM 0 comments


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