New laws to remove domestic abusers from homes to be introduced to Scottish Parliament
Following the announcement in the Programme for Government, a new Domestic Abuse Bill allowing abusers to be removed from homes will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in the coming weeks by Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf.
If passed, the Domestic Abuse Bill will give police officers greater powers to intervene where necessary and issue a short-term notice instantly barring a suspected abuser from a property. Police will then be able to apply to a court for a protective order, preventing the suspect’s return for up to two months. This will give victim-survivors immediate relief from the abuse situation as well as space and time to determine their next steps and seek support.
The legislation also seeks to make it easier for social landlords to transfer the tenancy of a perpetrator to the victim of abuse.
Ultimately, these changes address the assumption that it is the person experiencing abuse that must leave their homes and belongings. We hope it will reduce the number of victims-survivors and their children who end up homeless or forced into unsuitable temporary accommodation.
The Cabinet Secretary also committed to fund research into abuse victim-survivors’ experience of the justice system. A team at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will focus on coercive control and stalking victims. Dr Nancy Lombard, reader in sociology and social Policy at GCU, will lead the research project.
This will continue the work of the ground-breaking Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 that criminalised of psychological domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.
“We know all too well the long lasting and devastating impact hate crime can have on people as it attacks a core part of their identity, and is something that they have no control over. It not only negatively impacts individual victims, but whole communities and marginalised social groups.
“Victims of hate crime have waited a long time for these vital protections, they should not have to wait any longer. Now is the time for Scotland to come together to tackle hate crime.”
Earlier this month, there was a push to halt the Bill’s progress through Parliament and Victim Support Scotland, along with other victim and equalities organisations, called for the scrutiny process to be allowed to continue to allow for victims’ voices to be heard and concerns relating to freedom of speech to be addressed. You can read our call for victims of hate crime to be at the centre of this legislation here.