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New Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act to come into force in 2019

A new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act will come into effect in 2019, creating new protections for domestic abuse victims and recognising the importance of psychological abuse and coercive behaviour.

New offences under the Act

The Act introduces new offences, including a person engaging in a course of behaviour which is abusive towards that person’s partner or ex-partner.

Abusive behaviour is defined as that which:

  • Makes the victim dependent on or subordinate to the perpetrator
  • Isolates the victim from friends, family, and other support
  • Controls or monitors the victim’s activities in day-to-day life
  • Deprives or restricts the victim’s freedom of action
  • Frightens, degrades, humiliates, or punishes the victim

The new law covers psychological abuse as well as physical abuse, recognising that domestic violence can take many forms, not all violent. Coercive and controlling behaviour, which cannot be easily prosecuted under existing law, will also be prohibited under the new Act.

Reaction to the Act

The Act has been greeted by support from many groups, including Grampian Women’s Aid. The charity hails it as providing improved protection for victims, and as a “culture shift” away from basing domestic abuse prosecution on proving that a victim has suffered physical harm, and towards recognising the trauma of emotional and psychological abuse.

Humza Yousef, the Justice Secretary, has declared that £825,000 will be spent on a training scheme to assist police officers in dealing with domestic violence under the new law.

Contact our Family Lawyers, Aberdeen 

For first-class legal guidance and representation on domestic abuse and divorce, or any other areas of family law, then contact our specialist family lawyers today.

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