An Aberdeen charity has welcomed a new law implemented yesterday and claimed the “devastating effects” of domestic abuse was leaving vulnerable people homeless.
The new Scottish Government legislation makes psychological abuse and controlling behaviour from partners or ex-partners a crime – as well as physical harm.
These are a significant factor in the majority of domestic abuse cases, with police confirming this type of psychological abuse can be as bad as physical violence.
Training has already begun for police and social workers across the north-east and Highlands, which includes learning how to recognise and respond to the signs of controlling behaviour.
Examples of psychological abuse include making a partner dependent or subordinate; isolating a partner from friends, relatives or other sources of support; and controlling, regulating or monitoring a partner’s day-to-day activities.
Yesterday, the Aberdeen Cyrenians charity posted a statement online welcoming the new law and revealed they had dealt with cases of abused partners ending up homeless.
It read: “We welcome the new law that has come into force today which makes psychological domestic abuse and controlling behaviour a crime.
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“This law further recognises the many forms that domestic abuse can take and makes it clear that behaviour such as isolating partners from their friends and relatives or controlling their finances is a criminal offence.
“It also takes into account the impact domestic abuse can have on children.
“Through our domestic abuse support and accommodation project and violence against women project, we see both the devastating effects of domestic abuse and also the amazing courage and resilience of those affected.
“We ensure that people in the city who become homeless due to domestic abuse receive help to access safe accommodation along with a range of practical, emotional and advocacy support.”
Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart branded the new law as “groundbreaking”.
He said: “This legislation brought forward by the SNP Scottish Government makes it absolutely clear that controlling and coercive behaviour is domestic abuse and a crime.
“Scotland is leading the way with this groundbreaking legislation and I am proud that we will now recognise the impact domestic abuse has on children as well as adults.”