Scottish parliament just passed a revolutionary bill

Today is a monumental day in the fight against domestic abuse. I am proud that the country I live in (Scotland) has passed a bill through parliament that allows prosecution for the emotional impact of domestic abuse. The new bill has backing across all parties in parliament and will acknowledge the psychological damage that is experienced as a result of controlling and manipulative relationships. The Domestic Abuse Bill also aims to be in recognition of the detrimental effects on children living around these relationships, taking into account the emotional impact that witnesses of domestic abuse deal with.

Nicole Sturgeon tweeted this morning “If passes this landmark Domestic Violence Bill today – as I hope it will – enormous credit will go to the movement for its leadership and tireless campaigning down the years.” Women’s aid are a charity that have been operating in Scotland since 1970 to provide support to those dealing with domestic abuse. A lesson can be learned here that after all their campaigning, they really have influenced law and brought much needed change to policy. It shows that if you speak out enough, people really will listen.

This is absolutely outstanding. This is a lesson that we can only hope Russia will learn one day, as last year they passed a domestic abuse law in the other direction of the spectrum, stating that it can only be prosecuted if the victim has visible bruises or injuries. This is Scotland recognising finally that it doesn’t matter how hard a punch or a slap is, emotional repercussions of a controlling and coercive relationship can cause the same amount of damage as violence. Not only does this give us new grounds to prosecute for domestic abuse, but it sends out a message to victims that the emotional impact of their trauma is just as important as the physical repercussions. This is a truly groundbreaking law and we should be proud to live in a country that is acknowledging the full extent of the damage caused by domestic abuse.

In light of this news, I will list below the warning signs of experiencing domestic abuse, taken from Women’s Aid Scotland’s website. They also have a test on their website you can take to see if you are experiencing abuse. I will link that below too.

Emotional/Verbal

  • Calling you names and putting you down
  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealously or accusing you of cheating
  • Trying to stop you from seeing family or friends
  • Demanding that you tell him where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Putting rules in place about how you do things, for example how long you have to answer calls or texts
  • Trapping you in your home and stopping you from leaving
  • Making threats to hurt you, your children or others you care about including pets
  • Giving you the silent treatment
  • Blaming you for the the way he behaves or saying that you are making it up
  • Cheating on you
  • Telling you what to wear, whether you can wear makeup or not
  • Telling you that you can’t do anything right,
  • Threatening that he will have the children taken from you if you leave
  • Telling you that you have no rights because of your immigration status and that you will be deported
  • Making you feel like a bad parent, telling the children not to listen to you
  • Threatening to hurt himself

Physical 

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Stopping you from sleeping
  • Controlling what you eat
  • Hurting you with objects or weapons; for example throwing the remote control at you or threatening you with scissors
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Harming your children, family or pets

Financial 

  • Giving you money and making you tell him how you have spent it
  • Not letting you have any access to the bank account or money
  • Stopping you from working
  • Taking out debt in your name or making you take on debt for him
  • Not giving you money towards household bills when he lives with you
  • Not paying maintenance for children when the relationship has ended

Sexual 

  • Calling you a slut, whore or other names
  • Pressuring you into having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Making you feel guilty or like you owe him sex through threats or force
  • Hurting you with objects during sex 
  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you without your consent
  • Ignoring you if you say you don’t want to have sex
  • Forcing you to watch pornography or to participate in the making of it
  • Withholding or controlling your access to contraception and protection
  • Threatening to share intimate images of you with your friends, family, community or online

Digital

  • Watching your social media accounts i.e. keeping track of who likes your posts, who messages you
  • Sending you negative or insulting messages
  • Using technology to track your movements and activities
  • Sending you explicit pictures without your consent and demanding you send them in return
  • Constantly texting you and making you feel you can’t be separated from your phone
  • Insisting that you give them your passwords to your email or your social media accounts

Am I experiencing abuse? Test

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