Between March and June 2015, the Scottish Government consulted on whether a specific offence of domestic abuse would improve the ability of the police and prosecutors to tackle domestic abuse. Analysis of the responses suggested strong agreement that the current law does not reflect the experience of victims, in particular those who experience long-term coercive and controlling behaviour by partners or ex-partners.
In the Programme for Government in September 2015, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would publish a draft specific offence to deal with those who commit psychological abuse and engage in coercive and controlling behaviour.
This consultation seeks view on that draft offence, including on the definition of "abusive behaviour" used in the offence, the penalties, and the relationships to which the offence applies. It is intended that responses will help inform the development of the offence before it is introduced into the Scottish Parliament.