New offence of psychological domestic abuse

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A bill to criminalise psychological domestic abuse has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Domestic Abuse bill creates a specific offence of “abusive behaviour in relation to a partner or ex-partner”.  This includes psychological abuse such as coercive and controlling behaviour as well as violence.

MSPs voted by 118 to one to pass the legislation, with every member speaking in favour during the final debate.

It later emerged that Conservative Margaret Mitchell – who had spoken of the “total consensus” behind the bill – had recorded the only vote against.  She said she pressed the wrong button during the vote and blamed the mistake on not wearing her glasses!

On the same day it was announced that Scottish Women’s Aid is being granted dedicated training funding of £165,000 from the Scottish Government to support improved understanding of coercive control within communities and develop bespoke training materials for Scottish Women’s Aid staff.

In conjunction with Scottish Women’s Aid and ASSIST, Zero Tolerance also produced a new briefing for journalists in anticipation of the Bill being passed. It is available on their website.

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Image credit: Stinging Eyes, Flickr

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