First Step For New Domestic Abuse Bill

28 September 2017, 07:11 | Updated: 28 September 2017, 07:14

domestic violence

MSPs are expected to back the general principles of new legislation which would criminalise emotional and psychological abuse.

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill has already been endorsed by members of Holyrood's Justice Committee, and is now expected to pass through the first stage of the parliamentary process.

As it stands, it is not currently possible to convict an individual on the basis of a course of conduct that includes psychological abuse, such as coercive and controlling behaviour.

This can see abusers humiliate their victims or isolate them from friends, relatives and sources of support, as well controlling or monitoring their day-to-day activities.

While MSPs on Justice Committee heard concerns from some that the new offence could be difficult to enforce and prove in court, they insisted they did not believe the ''obstacles mentioned in evidence are insurmountable''.

Their report also pointed out both Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) had welcomed the legislation as being ''something they can work with to better protect the public''.

Papers accompanying the Bill suggest changing the law could result in a rise of domestic abuse cases of between 2% and 10% a year.