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Modernising the law on domestic and sexual abuse 12/10/2015 The Scottish Government has introduced a Bill to improve access to justice for survivors of domestic abuse

Modernising the law on domestic and sexual abuse

The Scottish Government has introduced a Bill to improve access to justice for survivors of domestic abuse and tackle the rise of so-called revenge porn.

The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Bill is designed to modernise criminal law and strengthen powers for the police, prosecutors and courts to take action against perpetrators of domestic abuse, harassment and sexual offences. It also creates an offence of sharing of private intimate images without consent, often called revenge porn, reflecting the way modern technology can be used to perpetrate abuse.

Under the new proposals, judges will be required to give juries specific directions when dealing with sexual offence cases. These directions are intended to improve juries’ understandings of sexual violence and domestic abuse, which we know is a current barrier in access to justice for victims.

A new statutory domestic abuse aggravator will also be introduced to ensure courts take domestic abuse into account when sentencing an offender.

In addition, if passed by Parliament, the Bill will ensure child sexual offences committed in England and Wales by Scottish residents can be prosecuted in Scotland and reform the system of civil orders to improve protections for communities from sex offenders and to help prevent sexual harm.

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