Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act

My Scottish Conservative colleagues in Holyrood were proud to vote for this Act, which has now passed, and has created a new criminal offence of abusive behaviour towards a partner of ex-partner. This much-needed and world-leading change in the law will go a long way towards protecting people against domestic abuse.

I have the greatest sympathy with anyone who has been subject to gaslighting, or any other form of psychological or physical abuse, whether it be in a domestic or non-domestic context. While this Act specifically refers to domestic abuse, and recognises gaslighting in that context, this does not mean that gaslighting in other walks of life should go unpunished.

Justice is a devolved issue in Scotland, and so it is for the Scottish Government to propose any further changes to the law that might offer the same recognition to gaslighting in other contexts. I hope that the Scottish Government will give due consideration to such an idea, and will be guided by the evidence in deciding what course of action to take.

In the meantime, I hope that Police Scotland and the procurators fiscal will make the fullest use of the existing law to ensure that psychological abusers in all walks of life are brought to justice. I know that my Scottish Conservative colleagues in Holyrood will stand up for all victims of crime, and will resolutely oppose any efforts by the SNP-led Scottish Government to introduce light-touch sentencing.