Further to our blog on 6 February 2018, we provide additional updates from IICSA following their publication on 15 February 2018. Continue reading
After emotional abuse entered the Scottish statutory legal landscape when the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act came into force on 4 October 2017, psychological abuse is now entering the Scottish statutory legal landscape but, this time, in the criminal context.
On 1 February 2018, Scottish Parliament passed the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill. When brought into force, psychological abuse of a partner or ex-partner may be prosecuted in the Scottish criminal courts. Psychological abuse is behaviour which:
- causes the victim to be dependent on or subordinate to the perpetrator
- isolates the victim from friends, family or support
- involves regulating, controlling or monitoring day to day activities
- deprives or restricts freedom of action, or
- is frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing.
Involving a child in psychological abuse of a partner or ex-partner is seen as an aggravation of the crime.
The new law is designed to protect not only spouses, civil partners and cohabitants living together (as spouses) but also people in intimate personal relationships whether living together or not. The definition of “Ex-partner” is to be interpreted on the same criteria.
Certain predictions have been made that the annual number of domestic abuse prosecutions will rise in Scotland by around 10% on account of the new law. That, of course, remains to be seen, as does the rate of conviction of those prosecuted for psychological abuse.
Written by Claire Thomas, solicitor at BLM
In the wake of allegations of sexual harassment again Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others there have been multiple further allegations arising across a wide breadth of organisations and individuals. Two stories in recent weeks highlight the interest regulatory bodies increasingly take when such incidents occur.
The charity ‘The President’s Club’ closed after a string of allegations were made following an event in the Dorchester Hotel. Women only were hired as ‘hostesses’ and were asked to wear black high heels and black underwear and were given a black short dress to wear on arrival. Hostesses were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they started working and their phones were locked away on the night. It was alleged they were plied with free alcohol.
As IICSA continues to progress, we summarise recent and forthcoming developments in relation to its investigations.
|Investigations||Key Updates from the Inquiry|
|Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale||
|Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks||
|Accountability and Reparations||
|Children in Custodial Institutions||
|Investigation into the Institutional Responses to Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC||
|Children in the Care of Nottinghamshire Councils||
|Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church||
|Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools||
|Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Linked to Westminster||
|Protection of Children Outside the UK||
|Children in the Care of Lambeth Council||
|Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church||
Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM
On 3 April 2017, it became a criminal offence for an adult (18 or over) to conduct sexual communications with a child under 16 years old. This was with the intention of stopping sexual grooming at an early stage, particularly via social media and mobile messaging.
In the week that saw Dr Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University and Olympic sports doctor sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing female gymnasts in the USA, it is timely to reflect on Volume 14 of the report of the Royal Commission (RC) which focuses on sports and recreational institutions.
The RC identified that there is a real challenge in ensuring child safety in sports and recreational institutions and this is due to the diverse nature of the sector – ranging from affiliated, grant maintained and well-funded, co-ordinated, well-regulated and managed institutions with compliance obligations to small informal not for profit voluntary and community groups and activities where there is a patent lack of policy, procedure, regulation and information.
In December 2017 The Women and Equalities Committee held a one-off evidence session on women’s experiences of everyday sexism and sexual harassment. MPs now want to focus on women and girls’ experiences of sexual harassment in public places: on the street; on public transport; in shopping areas; in bars and clubs; and other public areas.
- A national survey published by YouGov in 2016 revealed that 85% of women aged 18-24 had experienced unwanted sexual touching.
- Reported sexual offences on trains have more than doubled in the past five years.
The Committee wants to understand why sexual harassment happens in public places, what effect it has on women and girls, and how to prevent it and support victims. The Committee is interested in how age, ethnicity, sexuality and other characteristics affect women’s experiences.