Prosecutors in Scotland have started undertaking training in preparation for new domestic abuse legislation coming into force next year.
Groundbreaking and innovative
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 creates a new offence of ‘abusive behaviour in relation to a partner or ex-partner,’ covering physical and sexual violence, psychological abuse and coercive control , which can all be prosecuted as a single course of conduct offence. Solicitor general for Scotland Alison Di Rollo QC said ‘domestic abuse, in all its forms, is quite simply unacceptable in a modern, civilised Scotland. It goes to the heart and fabric of our society; it corrodes the fundamental values of respect and equality between genders; it blights the lives of families and children who are caught up in it.’ She added, ‘Scotland’s latest response in the form of this new criminal offence is groundbreaking and innovative, but it is firmly grounded in an increased and evidence-based understanding of the dynamics of abusive relationships. We know that real and everyday abuse is not just physical and the new offence captures that, reflecting the reality of victims’ lived experience, and what harms them.’
Ms Di Rollo elaborated, ‘the act will enable prosecutors to charge offenders with a course of criminal conduct comprising behaviour intended to isolate, humiliate, degrade, subjugate, punish or control, as well as behaviour that is already criminal such as assaults and threats. The Lord Advocate and I are committed to a robust approach to the enforcement of the criminal law in relation to domestic abuse.'