Help for domestic abuse7th May 2020
If you’ve been threatened or feel unsafe
Call the police on 999 to get protection immediately.
Ask the police to refer you to specialist domestic abuse support or phone Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline yourself on 0800 027 1234. They can help you make a plan for your safety.
If it’s too dangerous to speak to an operator, dial ‘55‘ to let them know that it’s not an accidental call and that you need help.
Using this webpage safely
If you share a computer with your partner or ex-partner, there’s a chance they’re monitoring your internet use or they can get hold of your mobile, follow Police Scotland’s advice for erasing your search history.
Are you experiencing abuse
Domestic abuse is a crime in Scotland. If you’re being harmed by your partner or ex-partner you may be experiencing domestic abuse. This isn’t your fault and there are organisations that can help you.
It can be hard to see the signs that domestic abuse is happening or come to terms with it. You might not feel like you’re a ‘typical’ victim of abuse but there isn’t one. It can affect people of any age, including teenagers and students. 80% of victims are female but men can also be victims.
Your abuser doesn’t have to be violent towards you for it to be abuse. They might be using tactics to undermine you, remove your freedom and trap you into living under their control – this is called coercive control. The abuse could be directed towards you, your children or even your pets as a way to intimidate and control you.
You should seek specialist support if you or your children are experiencing any behaviour from a partner or ex-partner that is:
- sexual – including rape and female genital mutilation
- mental and emotional – verbal abuse, undermining your confidence, gaslighting (making you question your version of what’s happened)
- isolating – from friends, relatives, health services and sources of support
- monitoring or controlling your actions – for example, tracking you, watching your social media accounts, making you stay in the house during the day or limiting time at the shops
- degrading or punishing – for example, not allowing you to eat or rewarding you for only ‘good’ behaviour
- financially controlling – for example, not allowing you to have your own bank account or having benefits paid only to the abuser
- intimidating – for example, threats of violence
- harmful towards pets or your belongings – this might be to manipulate, frighten or control you
As well as domestic abuse you might be experiencing other types of gender-based violence, like stalking, rape or sharing intimate photos or videos without consent. There are other specialist organisations that can help you.
If you’re not sure if it’s abuse
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline has trained workers who can talk to you about your situation and help you understand what’s happening.
Both men and women can phone or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s confidential and can be anonymous if you want. There’s a translation service if English isn’t your preferred language.
If you think there’s a chance your calls or emails are being monitored by your partner or ex-partner, it might be best to call from a public phone, the phone of a friend you trust or from your local Citizens Advice Bureau with the help of an adviser.
How to find out if your partner has an abusive past
You can find out if your partner or ex-partner has abused other people in the past by applying to Police Scotland’s Disclosure Scheme, also called Clare’s Law.
The police can tell you whether your partner has a history of being abusive and you’ll get help and support to decide whether to continue the relationship.
You can apply for yourself or someone you know.
To apply to the scheme, and find out more about it:
- apply on the Police Scotland website
- contact your local police station – find your local station on the Police Scotland website
- phone 101
If you want to leave an abusive relationship
Before you leave it’s important to make a safety plan with the help of advisers at Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline. They’re trained to help people leave abusive relationships safely.
Your safety plan should be tailored to you and might cover things like:
- when you’ll leave
- where you’ll go
- childcare or taking the children with you
- packing essential items
- care for pets – Dogs Trust Freedom Project may be able to look after animals. Find out more about the project on their website
Get help to make your safety plan from the Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline.
Getting help from Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
The helpline is for anyone affected by abuse, including friends or family members supporting someone affected by abuse.
Both men and women can phone or email 24 hours a day. It’s confidential and can be anonymous if you want. The helpline is run by Women’s Aid in partnership with the Men’s Advice Line. If you’re a man you’ll be put through to the Men’s Advice Line.
There’s a translation service if English isn’t your preferred language. You can use this helpline whatever your immigration status is.
If you think your calls or emails are being monitored by your partner or ex-partner, it might be best to call from a public phone, the phone of a friend you trust or from your local Citizens Advice Bureau with the help of an adviser.
Specially-trained staff will answer the phone. Find out more about what to expect when you call on the helpline’s website.
If you don’t feel able to contact the helpline you could also speak first to an adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau and they could phone on your behalf. This might be easier if you are already going there to speak about something else, like your benefits or housing. Read more about how an adviser can help.
How a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser can help
In some cases you might not feel able to contact a specialist domestic abuse service or it may be easier to talk to an adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau first. This might be the case if you’re already going to speak about your benefits or housing, for example.
Citizens Advice Bureau advisers aren’t specialists in domestic abuse but they can listen confidentially to you and:
- help you contact specialist support
- establish what you’ve already done and if you’re in danger
- make sure you have a plan before you leave the bureau
- explain the longer term options you might have
An adviser can help you with housing, debt and benefits issues to help you live independently from your abuser. They will recommend seeing a lawyer about more complex housing, immigration and legal issues.
Need more support for women, men, LGBT+ community, Ethnic Minority, Students and non UK citizens affected by domestic abuse.
Within Dumfries and Galloway, there are a number of sources who are available to provide advice and support to anyone who has concerns in relation to domestic abuse. View document below for some key agencies and organisations that will be of assistance:Back to News