In recent years Scotland has been praised internationally for our progressive policies. Whether it’s our minimum unit pricing legislation, which is helping to tackle alcohol-related health and social problems, our world-leading climate change legislation, or our funding of free sanitary products, there is no doubt that for a small country we are making big waves.

With the seemingly never-ending Brexit chaos at Westminster dominating the headlines, you’d be forgiven for thinking nothing else was actually going on in politics - and while that may be true for the UK government, here in Scotland the SNP Government has been steadily getting on with the day job.

This week we take some further important steps towards building a fairer, more equal and progressive country, with two new policies coming into effect.

Yesterday, our new Domestic Abuse Act came into force. This is world leading and ground-breaking legislation which, for the first time, recognises that domestic abuse is not always physical - it can be psychological too. The new law therefore criminalises what is called coercive and controlling behaviour.

It’s also the only law anywhere in the UK to contain a specific statutory sentencing aggravation to reflect the harm that can be caused to children when they grow up in an environment marked by domestic abuse. As a result, and for the first time, the new law allows the police to investigate and report the full circumstances of an abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse and controlling behaviours are often hidden - but they can have some of the most profound, frightening and traumatising effects on victims. Last week I visited Glasgow East Women’s Aid and met survivors of such abuse. It was at times very difficult to listen to their stories, but I was truly heartened by their courage and strength.

This legislation will strengthen the powers of the police and prosecutors, enabling the prosecution of those who engage in such insidious behaviours, and safeguarding those who are at risk. The Scottish Government has been working closely with stakeholders including Police Scotland and third sector organisations to ensure people are trained on the new Act.

We are also launching a public awareness campaign to increase understanding of the wide-ranging impact of domestic abuse and encourage victims to seek help.

There should be no place for domestic abuse in any society - nobody should have their self-esteem, confidence and safety robbed from them. With this change in the law, we are sending a clear message to abusers that they should expect to face the full consequences of their actions. I’m proud that Scotland is leading the way.

Yesterday also saw another landmark change in Scotland, with the extension of free personal care for people under 65 who are assessed as needing it.

Free personal care already benefits over 76,000 older people in Scotland - its introduction was one of the most significant achievements of the Scottish Parliament in its early years and attracted support from across the political divide.

Now, from this week, the Scottish Government has expanded free personal care to people under 65 - this means that those who are assessed as requiring, for example, help with washing, going to the toilet or preparing food, are able to access these services free of charge, regardless of their age, condition or income.

This change has come about thanks to the ‘Frank’s Law’ campaign, which was launched by his wife, Amanda, in the name of former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel. It will benefit around 10,000 people across Scotland.

It’s a step-change in the provision of personal care and it’s backed by £30 million of new Scottish Government funding to local authorities. We’ll continue working closely with councils and other stakeholders to ensure the policy is successfully delivered and that all those assessed as requiring free personal care get it.

We are the only Government in the UK to provide free personal care.

We are also the only government in the U.K. to provide a Baby Box for newborns and I’m delighted that uptake of that has now reached 96%. The figures, which show that over 20,000 boxes have been delivered across Greater Glasgow & Clyde, were published as the new Baby Box design was unveiled last week.

Four young people from across Scotland created the winning design. It features iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and Ben Nevis, and it’s fitting that our young people have had a hand in designing this gift for newborn babies.

As well as a change to the outside of the box, there’s an important change inside. Parents-to-be will now receive a voucher for a reusable cloth nappy and liners from Glasgow-based company Tots Bots, helping to encourage more environmentally friendly behaviours.

These policies are examples of how we can take a different, more progressive path when we have the powers to do so.

As the UK Government obsesses with Brexit and the Tories fall deeper into chaotic despair, it’s more important than ever that the SNP Scottish Government and our Scottish Parliament get on with delivering the socially progressive change that our country wants to see.