Legislation to criminalise psychological domestic abuse has been published by the Scottish Government.

Nicola Sturgeon said the measures contained in the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill recognise the "devastating effect" that non-physical abuse can have on victims.

The Bill creates a specific offence of ''abusive behaviour towards a partner or ex-partner'', including psychological abuse - such as coercive and controlling behaviour.

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Such behaviour could include subordination, humiliation, isolating a partner from friends, relatives and sources of support, and controlling or monitoring their day-to-day activities.

Speaking at the Glasgow Young Women's Movement (YWCA) centre - where she met abuse survivors, the First Minister said: "I am proud that, as a society, we've come a long way from believing that domestic abuse is only a physical act.

"The truth is that the psychological scars left by emotional abuse can have devastating effects on victims, and this government will work hard to make sure perpetrators face the justice they deserve.

"This bill will help our police and prosecutors hold abusers to account - but importantly, it also shows those who have suffered abuse that we stand with them and will take the steps needed to help them.

"I know that legislation alone will not tackle the scourge of domestic abuse, which is why support services like the one I visited this morning are so important.

"The YWCA - alongside Assist, Scottish Women's Aid and many other groups - provides a vital lifeline for survivors, and the brave women I met today are a testament to the strength their support can bring."

Kara Brown, director of YWCA Scotland, said: "The Young Women's Movement is proud to be part of a country breaking ground through new progressive legislation.

"It is only by addressing the full spectrum and cycle of coercive control and domestic abuse that change will take place."

Scottish Labour's justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: "Alongside toughening the law we must also provide proper financial support to projects aimed at tackling violence against women and girls and look at the introduction of domestic abuse courts throughout Scotland.

"Scottish Labour will be looking to work with all parties as this Bill progresses through Parliament to ensure victims and families of domestic abuse get all the support they need."

Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women's Aid, said: "Scottish Women's Aid is proud and pleased that Scotland is set to be amongst the first in the world to have a specific offence that captures and criminalises the horrific reality of all aspects of domestic abuse."

Mhairi McGowan of Assist also welcomed the legislation.

She said: "This Bill is an incredibly important piece of legislation. It will consolidate all that has been done so far in Scotland, but more importantly it will give hope to thousands of victims who live with the drip-drip of relentless psychological abuse and who feel that their partners can never be held accountable, that their abuse is less important or unseen."