How to Deal with Domestic Abuse in Relationships

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Domestic abuse can occur in relationships, or between ex-partners, of all ages – including those who are married, co-habiting or living separately.

Who can experience domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse can be directed from male partners to female partners, from females towards male partners, and occur in same-sex relationships. When you're in a relationship it is important to understand what is a healthy and loving relationship, and what is unhealthy and controlling behaviour.

What can I do if I’m being abused?

Remember that you're not to blame for your abuser's behaviour. No-one deserves to be treated this way and if your partner is abusing you in any way you need to consider ending the relationship immediately.

You could also talk to someone about what is happening, it could be a friend, a relative, a youth worker or a teacher. There are also a number of free and confidential helplines who can offer a listening ear, advice and support.

What if we live together?

If you're living with your partner there is help in place to find a safe place for you to stay. Refuge can offer a safe place for female victims of domestic violence and children.

Male and female victims can also apply to their local authority for accommodation based on the grounds of homelessness, if you feel it is no longer safe for you to live with your partner. 

You could also move in with a friend or relative, or find privately rented accommodation or a hotel to stay in temporarily, if you feel it would be safe.

You can find helpful information on what your next steps are if you are a victim of domestic abuse from Shelter Scotland.  

How can I report my abuser to the police?

Domestic abuse is a criminal offence, if you call the police whoever is abusing you can be arrested and you will be offered protection. If you are in immediate danger call 999 for emergency help. 

You can also report domestic abuse at your local police office or at a remote reporting site. If you are unable to go to your local police station or a remote reporting site, or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can submit an online domestic abuse form

What will happen after I report the abuse?

The police will begin their investigation by taking a statement from you, and provisions will be put in place as necessary to make you feel comfortable; whether that is speaking to a member of the same sex or taking a break during the interview. 

After you've reported the abuse your partner can be arrested and detained by the police for six hours before being charged. If there is enough evidence your partner will be charged, usually with assault or breach of the peace. 

If they're charged they'll usually be held in a police cell until the court date. If they're released prior to their court date, they will have to sign an ‘undertaking’ to abide by certain conditions, such as staying away from you.  Your partner will not be released if the police believe they will be of risk to you. 

How can I know if my partner has a history of domestic abuse?

From 1st October 2014 the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland has come into place across Scotland. This allows both men and women the right to ask about the bckground of their partner or a potential partners, as well as someone in a relationship with someone they know, if there is a concern that the individual may be abusive.

You can find out more about the process of a disclosure and download the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Form from Police Scotland.

You can phone LawLine on 0808 801 0801 for free, confidential advice from qualified solicitors about the laws in place to protect you when reporting domestic abuse.

Who else can help?