Scotland has implemented a "groundbreaking" new law that criminalizes psychological domestic abuse and other forms of controlling behavior. In February of last year, the Scottish parliament passed the Domestic Abuse Act, establishing psychologically and emotionally abusive tactics as domestic abuse offenses.
A similar law came into effect in England and Wales in 2015, criminalizing non-physical abuse under the Serious Crime Bill.
The Scottish law "covers the full breadth of violent, threatening, intimidating and other controlling behavior which can destroy a victim’s autonomy and further recognizes the adverse impact domestic abuse can have on children," The Independent reports. The act further demands courts consider implementing non-harassment orders on convicted domestic abuse offenders to prevent them from further contacting their victims.
“The Domestic Abuse Act makes absolutely clear that coercive and controlling behavior is domestic abuse and a crime,” said Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s justice secretary. “I am proud Scotland is leading the way with this groundbreaking legislation, which uniquely recognizes the effect of domestic abuse on child victims as well as adults.”
A domestic abuse public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging victims to seek help also launched on the same day as the legislation on April 1. Until the Domestic Abuse Act, only physical forms of domestic abuse were criminalized.