How Are We Tackling Violence Against Women?

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Delivering for Scotland #52: Domestic Abuse Act

Violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.

We have implementing ‘Equally Safe’, Scotland’s strategy to prevent and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, backed up with record levels of funding.

We have introduced the world leading legislation that makes psychological domestic abuse and controlling behaviour a crime. Scotland is now one of only a handful of countries across the world to introduce dedicated legislation that will cover not just physical abuse, but also other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour which cannot easily be prosecuted under the existing criminal law.

We are working with victims organisations and others to improve victims’ experience of the justice system, including establishing a Victims Taskforce to ensure victims’ voices are heard and to streamline their journey through the justice system.

In the last session of the Parliament, we passed the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act to tackle the way modern technology can be used to perpetrate abuse, creating a new offence of sharing private intimate images without consent, or so-called ‘revenge porn’.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

The Domestic Abuse Act makes absolutely clear that coercive and controlling behaviour is domestic abuse and a crime. I am proud Scotland is leading the way with this ground-breaking legislation, which uniquely recognises the effect of domestic abuse on child victims as well as adults.

No-one should be forced to live like that and I hope we will encourage victims to recognise their own circumstances and to seek support with the confidence that the law is behind them.


The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 1 February  2018.