Tackling domestic abuse

Psychological abuse, and coercive and controlling behaviour covered by new measures.

Measures to help police and prosecutors to tackle all forms of domestic abuse will come into force on 1 April next year, Ministers have announced.

The Domestic Abuse Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year, creates a new offence which explicitly covers psychological harm as well as physical harm, addressing a gap in the criminal law.

A consultation has also been launched, seeking the public’s views on the creation of protective orders to give the police and courts new powers to bar an individual from a home that they share with a person at risk of domestic abuse and prohibit them from contacting that person.

Views are also sought on whether changes are needed to existing provisions on exclusion orders, which suspend the right of a married person, civil partner or cohabitee to live in the family home.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“Domestic abuse can shatter lives and rob victims of their confidence, self-esteem and even their home. The new measures which come into force in April can make a real and important difference to people who experience these crimes and will make it absolutely clear that this behaviour is wrong and can be prosecuted.

“We know that domestic abuse is a significant cause of homelessness and that is why we are consulting on the creation of new protective orders to safeguard those at risk. We are particularly interested in hearing people’s views on how these orders can best be implemented.”


Access the consultation on protective orders for people at risk of domestic abuse.

Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 

Homelessness in Scotland 2017/18 found that 13% of homelessness applications came from those who had been through a violent domestic household dispute.


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