Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo: bullying behaviour in relationships has existed in a ‘kind of netherworld’

Written by Jenni Davidson on 1 December 2017 in News

The Solicitor General will talk about the new domestic abuse bill at a Scottish Women’s Aid conference

Alison di Rollo - Image credit: Scottish Women's Aid

Controlling and coercive behaviour in relationships has existed in a “kind of netherworld”, the Solicitor General, Alison Di Rollo, is expected to say at a conference on domestic abuse today.

The Solicitor General will be speaking on the Scottish Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill at the annual Scottish Women’s Aid’s conference in Edinburgh, which this year has the theme of changing our understanding of domestic abuse.

Ahead of the conference, Marsha Scott from Scottish Women’s Aid said: “We’ve made huge progress in changing our understanding of domestic abuse in Scotland, but the myth that it always involves some kind of physical violence persists.

“For many women who experience domestic abuse, physical violence is simply never part of the equation.

“For survivors to recognise their experience and reach out they need to see themselves and their experiences represented in all of their diversity in legislation, media, culture and beyond.

“This is just one reason why Scotland’s new domestic abuse bill is so important.”

Di Rollo will talk about how coercive, controlling, demeaning and belittling behaviour is to be made illegal in the bill.

She will say that much progress has been made on domestic abuse over the past 30 to 40 years, but that a gap still exists.

Di Rollo is expected to say: “Domestic abuse is serious criminality, and serious criminality deserves a serious response. 

“While there are significant challenges for prosecutors in domestic abuse cases, there has also been, until now, a gap in the law, which has meant that some of the controlling, jealous, demeaning, belittling, isolating behaviour that the average reasonable person might consider epitomises domestic abuse has not, until now, been recognised as criminal.

“This type of behaviour has existed until now in a kind of netherworld – not acceptable, but also not, of itself, illegal. Yet.

“The Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament, is another significant milestone in addressing domestic abuse in Scotland and will, if passed, make criminal the insidious abusive behaviour that at present we are unable to prosecute.”

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