The bill giving more powers to police and courts to protect people at risk of domestic abuse has passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament.
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.
Following the vote, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "This bill represents a significant shift forward in ensuring protection can be put in place for women, in particular, from domestic abuse.
"The protections in the bill through the new scheme of domestic abuse protection notices and orders will make a real difference to the lives of many."
Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, commented: "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."