South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne has welcomed the ‘general principles’ of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill at Stage One of debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Mrs. Ballantyne, the party’s spokesperson for childcare and early years, said that the Scottish Conservatives will not waver in their drive to effectively legislate and prosecute against domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill addresses a gap in the current law by recognising that domestic abuse is multifaceted. It aims to criminalise a course of conduct which amounts to psychological abuse and coercive control.
Commenting on the Bill in the Scottish Parliament, Michelle Ballantyne said:
‘The principles which underpin this Bill are sound.
‘Psychological abuse does not happen suddenly. It is insidious. It creeps slowly. Until your confidence is supplanted by doubt; your freedom enveloped by chains.
‘And yet, our present law is not sufficiently expansive to enable effective prosecution of psychological abuse and coercive control.”
Mrs. Ballantyne also addressed the issue of trialling a ‘one family, one judge’ rule in Scotland:
‘I fully support the trialling of the ‘one family, one judge’ approach adopted in various countries, including the United States and New Zealand. This could be a vital ancillary means of streamlining the system and ensuring that victims are not forced to ‘relive’ the experience time and time again.’