NEW DOMESTIC ABUSE LAWS COME IN TO FORCE IN APRIL 2019

Fri 01 Feb 2019

The Domestic Abuse Act 2018 passed last year by the Scottish Parliament, creates a new offence which covers psychological harm as well as physical harm, thus addressing a perceived cap in the criminal law. The new Act makes it an offence for a person to engage in a course of behaviour which is abusive towards that person's partner or ex-partner. The new law covers not only spouses, civil partners and cohabitants but also people in intimate personal relationships who do not live together. As well as physical abuse, the new law covers other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour that cannot be easily prosecuted by the existing law. It includes behaviour which is violent, threatening or intimidating and behaviour which includes making another person dependent on or subordinate to the perpetrator, isolating them from friends, controlling, regulating or monitoring their day to day activities, restricting their freedom of action and/or humiliating, degrading or punishing another person. The new law could include, for example, preventing the victim having access to money or from having access to their phone or other forms of communication.