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Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018

Section 10 – Meaning of references to behaviour

51.Section 10 provides for the meaning of references to behaviour for the purposes of the offence.

52.Section 10(2) provides that “behaviour” includes things said or otherwise communicated as well as things done. It also encompasses an intentional failure to do, say or otherwise communicate something (e.g. a failure to pass on times and dates of appointments or social occasions, or a failure to feed a family pet).

53.Section 10(3) provides that behaviour directed at a person includes behaviour directed towards property. It is not a requirement that the property must belong to the complainer. It could, for instance, be shared property or property belonging to a third party, such as the victim’s parents. Property includes pets or other animals (for example agricultural livestock) whether belonging to the victim or others.

54.It also provides that behaviour directed at a person includes behaviour carried out with or through a third party. This might include, for example, getting another person to spy on or report on the activities of the complainer. The third party’s involvement could possibly be unwitting or unwilling, as they may be entirely unaware that their behaviour was helping the perpetrator to abuse the victim or may have been coerced into participating in the abuse.

55.Section 10(4) provides that a course of behaviour involves behaviour on at least two occasions. It would be for the court to determine in the particular circumstances of a case whether two incidents occurring far apart in time, with no evidence that they formed part of any wider pattern of behaviour, truly amounted to a course of behaviour.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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