– passage of the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill
Is there a recurring pattern here? It has been disappointing to find so little attention given in the news media in Scotland to an important event which occurred in the Holyrood Parliament on 18 March 2021. It was the passage of the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill. This Government Bill was approved by 114 MSPs, with no dissenting votes and no abstentions.
The Law Society of Scotland reported:
‘MSPs unanimously supported the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill, which introduces two new forms of order, the domestic abuse protection notice, imposed by the police, to be followed by the domestic abuse protection order from the courts, which would ban suspected abusers from re-entering the home and from approaching or contacting the person at risk for a period of time to enable them to consider their longer-term options around safety and housing.
‘The bill will also allow social landlords to end or transfer the tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse to the victim. Its measures aim to reduce the risk that victims of domestic abuse end up having to become homeless in order to escape their abuser.’
The chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid commented on the Bill’s passage: “Domestic abuse is the leading cause of women’s homelessness in Scotland and this bill will make an immediate and significant difference for those women and their children – granting them some safety and breathing space to seek support, to explore their housing options, and to consider life without an abuser in the next room controlling every move they even think about making.
“This legislation fills a giant gap in Scottish law by upholding the rights of women and children living with domestic abuse to stay safely in their own homes if they choose, and we look forward to working with the Government, and other partners, on implementation and evaluation.”
The national director of the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) Scotland is quoted in Scottish Housing News saying:
“We very much welcome the passing of the Bill which will improve the housing rights of victim-survivors.
“We know domestic abuse is the principle cause of homelessness for women but the law did not previously give enough protection to victim-survivors to safeguard their housing rights. This legislation will now give victims of domestic abuse housing rights and options that were previously unavailable – including the option of staying in their home. A key ask from our domestic abuse campaign, Make a Stand.”