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Scotland becomes world leader in fighting domestic abuse

On the 1st of February, Scotland’s political parties united in support of the historic Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill. Passing the legislation 118 to 1, MSP’s gave a standing ovation to survivors and all those who campaigned for change who stood observing in the public gallery.


The Bill covers coercive and controlling behaviour, psychological and emotional maltreatment as well as physical abuse, making Scotland the first country in the world to officially criminalise these ‘harder to prosecute’ areas. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, who first introduced the bill in March 2017, said, “This is a momentous day. Our laws will be changed so they reflect the experience all too many women have suffered”.


The Scottish Government has given Scottish Women’s Aid £165,000 to facilitate training and promote understanding of coercive control and other forms of domestic abuse in preparation of the change to the law.


Similarly, following successful events in Edinburgh and Inverness last year titled, ‘The Social Work Role in Domestic Abuse’, we at SASW are exploring emerging themes of good practice and providing learning opportunities for social workers regarding domestic abuse. Our next event, due to be held in Glasgow in partnership with Scottish Women's Aid and Equally Safe in Higher Education on the 13th February, received an overwhelming response. Due to the level of interest – and the welcome and timely changes to the law – we are looking to roll out similar events in other parts of the country. These events will draw on what we know about what works, and what women and children tell us, with the focus being on what social workers can do to promote the rights and needs of survivors.


Please contact us if you would like an event like this in your area.