We are thrilled to see that the Scottish Government has announced the launch of the new Domestic Abuse Bill with the support of Scottish Women’s Aid, YWCA and ASSIST.
This bill which will make abusive behaviour towards a partner or ex-partner a specific offence, was debated back in September 2015. We heard many different issues brought up in relation to this bill; the rise of online harassment, how domestic abuse affects women in remote communities and children's experiences of domestic abuse. At the time we were pleased to see cross party support for the bill and are happy to see it launch this week. This bill will fill in some of the gaps we have in understanding how abuse actually functions – as a controlling, coercive pattern.
Domestic abuse is often misunderstood as an isolated, violent incident. In reality, domestic abuse operates as a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. Thanks to the vital work of Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis and other sister organisations our understanding of domestic abuse has extended well beyond the physical act of violence, and our legal system and attitudes need to be updated to follow suit. This is an important step to make that a reality and we look forward to seeing the bill published.
Coverage of the bill
New powers to tackle domestic abuse - Scottish Government
Coercive behaviour to be tackled with new @scotgov domestic abuse bill - Nathanael Williams, Common Space
Domestic Abuse bill published - Scottish Legal News
Coverage of the debate
Domestic abuse: This article will upset you but it is vital that you read it - Vicky Allan, Herald Scotland
Campaigners welcome new powers to tackle domestic abuse as bill is proposed - Nathanael Williams, Common Space
New Responses to Domestic Abuse - Jen Stout, Bella Caledonia