New Domestic Abuse Bill tackles controlling behaviour

Controlling web

The crackdown on domestic abuse is set to continue, a discussion event heard last week

4th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The authorities have pledged to continue to crackdown on domestic abuse.

Speaking at the annual Scottish Women’s Aid conference, [Un]Trapped: Changing Our Understanding of Domestic Abuse, Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo said that new legislation would make controlling behaviour a crime.

“The Crown’s response to domestic abuse is unapologetically robust,” she said. “Domestic abuse is serious criminality, and serious criminality deserves a serious response.

“While there are significant challenges for prosecutors in domestic abuse cases, there has also been, until now, a gap in the law, which has meant that some of the controlling, jealous, demeaning, belittling, isolating behaviour that the average reasonable person might consider epitomises domestic abuse has not, until now, been recognised as criminal.

“This type of behaviour has existed until now in a kind of netherworld – not acceptable, but also not, of itself, illegal. Yet.”

The Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament, will make controlling, demeaning and belittling behaviour displayed by a partner a crime. The event, held in Edinburgh last Friday (1 December) – used the new bill as a focal point for discussion, with representatives from a variety of organisations present.

Marsha Scott, of Scottish Women’s Aid, said the new legislation would help end the myth that domestic abuse always involves violence.

She said: “For many women who experience domestic abuse, physical violence is simply never part of the equation. For survivors to recognize their experience and reach out they need to see themselves and their experiences represented in all of their diversity in legislation, media, culture and beyond. This is just one reason why Scotland’s new Domestic Abuse Bill is so important.”