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Domestic Abuse GIF

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse exists in all sections of our communities. Domestic abuse can exist in all types of relationships between partners and ex partners. Abusers and victims can be male or female, any race or religion and from all different types of background.

Police Scotland works to a nationally agreed definition of domestic abuse which has been adopted by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

This is:
"Any form of physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship. The relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The abuse may be committed in the home or elsewhere including online".

There is a common misconception that domestic abuse is just physical abuse. This is not the case. Domestic abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or mental abuse.

Physical abuse includes:

All types of assault and physical attacks like hitting (including with objects), punching, kicking and burning.

Sexual abuse includes:

Forcing you to have sexual intercourse or forcing you to engage in sexual acts.

Mental/emotional abuse includes:

Threats (including threats of violence); criticism and name calling; coercive control, controlling what you do, where you go and who you speak to; threatening your children, isolating you from friends and family; accusing you of being unfaithful; threatening to 'out' your sexual orientation to family, friends or work colleagues; sharing or threatening to share intimate images of you with family, friends or work colleagues (commonly known as ‘Revenge Porn’).

What do I do if this is happening to me and how do I report domestic abuse?

Advice on reporting mechanisms for domestic abuse, what to do in an emergency and what you can do if you suspect someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.

Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland

The scheme provides a mechanism to share relevant information about a partners abusive past with their potential victims. It gives people at risk of domestic abuse the information to assist in making an informed decision on whether to continue in the relationship.

Disclosures through the scheme can be triggered by members of the public, who have concerns about their partner, or others i.e. friends, family or work colleagues who are concerned about an individual’s safety. Professional bodies, such as the police and social work can also trigger applications into the scheme.

The decision to disclose information lies with a multi-agency forum and those individuals receiving information through the scheme will be fully supported.

A domestic abuse victim's story

The first-hand account from a victim of domestic abuse and how she was able to use the disclosure scheme for assistance.

Effects of domestic abuse on children

Children are often described as the 'forgotten victims' of domestic abuse. They are affected not only by being assaulted or abused by the perpetrator, but also by directly witnessing abuse and also living in an environment where someone, usually their mother, is being repeatedly victimised.

Domestic abuse in young relationships

Domestic abuse isn’t just something that happens to adults.

Five percent of all domestic abuse incidents reported involve girls aged between 16-18 years old.  Many more are going unreported. 

Are you an abuser?

If you are an abuser you should be aware that you will be held accountable for your behaviour. Within this section you will find advice on seeking help. 

Staying safe online and erasing internet history 

Information on how to clear your internet history so that your abuser doesn't know which websites you have accessed.


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