The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force following Royal Assent on 28 April 2016.  The Act provides guidance on defining abuse and harm and the legal provisions that can be imposed if a defendant is found guilty. For the first time in legislation the Act addresses the issue of psychological harm as well as physical harm, with any intent to cause either or both as a form of aggravated assault.

In addition to defining abuse and sexual harm the Act examines the disclosure of film and images of an explicit nature, looks at relationships and introduces a number of orders to protect the community and its members.  The orders include Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, Sexual Risk Orders and non-Harassment Orders.   The Act also makes provision for interim orders.

We have produced a briefing paper which explains the Act in more detail. You can download it here.