What can I do if this is happening to me?
Police Scotland is committed to tackling domestic abuse and keeping people safe. Please contact us or our partner agencies for help.
If the abuse is ongoing please always phone 101, or 999 in an emergency. You can also;
- Speak to the police in person by attending at your local police station.
- Use our online reporting form. (Only where the abuse is not ongoing).
- Or contact Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234, where support is available 24/7.
The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (DSDAS) aims to prevent domestic abuse by giving people the right to ask about the background of their partner.
It also allows concerned members of the public, such as relatives and friends, the right to ask about someone’s partner if they are concerned that person has been abusive in the past.
You can submit a ‘Right to Ask’ application if you are concerned about yourself or someone else.
Additional Information for Keeping Safe
Domestic abuse occurs in many different ways and each person is different, it is important that you think about your own circumstances and what you can do to help feel safe. Below are some ideas to consider which may help:
- Safety Plan - should be tailored to meet your individual needs and the status of your relationship. Whether you decide to stay, plan to leave or have left the relationship will impact on the safety measures to consider, for example;
If your decide to stay, please consider;
- If an argument occurs, try to leave if safe to do so and take children with you.
- If it is not possible to leave and an argument occurs, try to avoid being anywhere potential weapons are accessible such as the bathroom, garage, and kitchen - rooms without an outside exit should also be avoided.
- Plan possible escape routes for every room in the house, even practice the escape - have window / door keys readily available.
- Let trusted friends / neighbours know about the situation and ask them to call the police if they hear anything concerning.
- Teach the children, if and when appropriate, to call for help. They should be cautious about using a phone in front of the perpetrator as this may endanger them further.
- Talk to children about what is happening and encourage them to call for help but not to intervene. Emergency numbers may be programmed into the phone or the children's mobile phones.
- Create code words or a phrase for friends and children so that they know when to call for help and / or leave danger areas.
- To avoid confusion keep the code word the same for everyone and make sure that they know where you are if you activate the code by phone.
- Plan where to go in an emergency and think about the safest way to get there.
- Make sure helpline numbers, especially those for 24 hour services are easily accessible and keep or learn a list of important phone numbers e.g. Police, advocacy worker, doctor, school etc.
If you plan to leave, please consider;
- The time for leaving needs to be carefully planned. Allow adequate time to pack and get away safely. Consider a safe time, for example, when the abuser is at work or at an appointment.
- Consider discussing matters with a solicitor prior to leaving to gather information in relation to child contact or financial arrangements.
If you have left the relationship, please consider;
- Secure your home it as much as you can e.g. by changing locks, window locks, installing an intruder alarm, and using movement sensitive lights.
- Think about your use of technology which might be used against you to reveal where you are. Turn off location services on mobile phones, devices and applications (apps) which the perpetrator may be aware of. In particular if there is concern around tracking or following (without causing undue alarm, remind the victim of the possibility that the perpetrator may have installed an app or location tracker without their knowledge).
- Use the number 141 when making a call so the numbers cannot be traced. Simply type this in the phone before the number to be dialled or turn off caller ID on the phone if possible.
- Consider getting a new mobile phone and use the old mobile for contact with your ex-partner if that is required for child contact or other reasons.
- Discuss the situation with your children's school.
- Do not agree that your ex-partner attends your house alone. All meetings should happen in a public place.
- If at all possible any access visits should be organised through a third party. Family and friends can pick the children up and drop them off at school.
- Consider discussing the situation with a solicitor who will be able to provide advice on the use of civil options, such as an interdict or Non Harassment Order or other appropriate measures.
Information is power and the best informed victims are the most powerful. A planned escape is the safest way to leave an abusive relationship.
- Emergency phone calls - calls to 999 are free even if they are from a mobile phone. You should also be aware that the number 112 (the European emergency services number) will also connect you to Police Scotland.
- A diary of events is helpful for evidence in civil or criminal court proceedings. Consider the use of mobile apps such as BrightSky or Hollie Guard if safe to do so.
- Brightsky – provides a UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services. The app also provides a journal tool where you can log incidents via text, visual and audio format. For more information, visit Hestia - Bright Sky
- Hollie Guard –the app has a reports function which allows users to quickly record an incident which is time stamped and geo tagged. The app also provides a way of notifying a chosen contact that help is needed and pinpoints the location. For more information, visit Hollie Guard.
What will Police Scotland do?
Our purpose is to improve the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities in Scotland, focusing on Keeping People Safe in line with our values of Integrity, Fairness and Respect.
Responding to reports of domestic abuse is a priority. Every report received is assessed to determine the most appropriate policing response.
Our officers and staff are committed to tackling domestic abuse and will treat you in a fair, sensitive, respectful and ethical manner, taking account of your needs.
- Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of victims, their families and any other person present.
- Thorough investigation of all incidents, securing all available evidence and taking appropriate action.
- Actively pursuing offenders so that they can be held accountable through the criminal justice system.
- Ensuring that appropriate information and advice is provided in relation to the support available from other agencies.
Full details of what you can expect can be found in the Joint protocol between Police Scotland and COPFS