The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has announced its support of the general principles set out in the Scottish Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill.
In giving its unanimous backing, the Committee stated that it was “sobering” to consider that serious and long-term psychological abuse within a relationship often cannot be prosecuted. Reflecting upon the evidence they heard, members agreed that psychological abuse can cause immense trauma and harm.
“I know all Committee members would want to pay tribute to the brave individuals who spoke to us about their experiences as the victims of psychological domestic abuse,” commented Committee Convener Margaret Mitchell MSP. “Their traumatic experiences have reinforced the need to make sure the current gap in the law is closed.”
“This is an important bill with the potential to make a huge difference to those victims of psychological abuse so it is crucial that its provisions are robustly scrutinised,” she added.
The Bill will now progress to Stage 2, where amendments will be considered.
The Committee has also announced that it intends to hear further evidence on emergency barring orders. These are short-term civil protection orders, designed to give the victim some time to take further steps to protect his or her safety. Typically, they do not require the consent of the victim, and may remove the abuser from the residence of the victim or prohibit abuser contact with the victim. They are already available in a wide range of other European countries, including England and Wales.
If you have been charged with domestic violence offences then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.