MSP Christina McKelvie praises South Lanarkshire Women’s Aid
Last week in Parliament, tough new laws on domestic abuse moved one step closer as the Scottish Parliament debated stage One of the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill, which is designed to introduced strict new measures to combat domestic abuse, includes measures to account for coercive, psychological forms of domestic abuse not currently covered within existing legislature.
Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP, Christina McKelvie, who has worked continuously with Lanarkshire Rape Crisis and Scottish Women’s Aid, commented in the debate:
“We have seen some improvements—in many cases, huge improvements—through the work of locally led groups, such as South Lanarkshire Women’s Aid and the Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre.
“But this bill tackles one of my biggest concerns, which is coercive control.
“It needs to be a criminal offence. Such behaviour devastates human lives. Using gestures and eye contact to warn a person or control their behaviour can be undetectable to most of us, but devastating to the person who is the target of it.
The update in the legislation comes after broad support for the creation of a new offence and the inclusion of psychological abuse as domestic abuse.
Commenting, a spokesperson for Scottish Women’s Aid said:
“The Bill will bridge the gap in addressing controlling behaviours not covered by existing offences and crimes, particularly those that cannot be dealt with via common assault, threatening and abusive behaviour, and stalking.”
“Domestic abuse is not an individual incident or occurrence. Nor does domestic abuse necessarily include physical violence, although this can be a feature.
“Victim-survivors have been telling us for 40 years that the harm from emotional and psychological abuse is the most traumatic.”