Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse is a pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and or violent behaviour, including sexual violence/rape, by a partner or ex-partner, someone with whom a person is or has been in a relationship with.

Physical, mental, sexual, emotional or financial abuse is overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men.  Domestic abuse does not discriminate and anyone can be a victim of abuse, irrespective of age, race, religion, ability, sexuality.  

The Law in Scotland recognises that controlling and coercive behaviour is a criminal act, as noted in the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and the legislation came into force on 1st April 2019.

In October 2020, a new law has been proposed by Scottish Government to allow the Police and Courts the power to remove suspected abuser from their victim's home.  This new legislation will ban them from re-entering for two months using Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, offering immediate protection to victims.

It would also create a new power for social landlords to end the tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse and transfer their lease to the victim, should they wish to remain in the property.

Domestic Abuse Statistics 2018-2019

  • Police Incidents in Scotland 60,641
  • In West Lothian the police deal with domestic abuse crimes that are recorded at 2,256 in this period - that's about 43 incidents every week or 6 per day.  It is acknowledged that only 20% of cases are reported.
  • This is a 2% increase on the previous year

We anticipate this number to rise particularly with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic during 2020

  • In 2018-19, more than 4 out of 5 (83%) victims of domestic abuse were female
  • Almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime  Office for National Statistics (2019) Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2019
  • Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales alone  Office for National Statistics (2019) Homicide in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 (average taken over 10 years)
  • In the year ending March 2019, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse  Office for National Statistics(2019) Domestic abuse victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2019
  • In 90% of cases children are present in the same room or nearby during an attack on their mother. 

The definition of domestic abuse used by Scottish Government 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 can be committed in the home or elsewhere, including online.

It is acknowledged that domestic abuse as a form of gender-based violence is predominantly perpetrated by men against women.  This definition also acknowledges and includes abuse of male victims by female perpetrators, and includes abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people within relationships.

What you need to know about Domestic Abuse

  • You and your children have a right to be safe
  • Anyone can experience Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Abuse is never your fault. The abuser is responsible
  • You do have options and there are organisations that can help you
  • You and your children can recover from the effects of Domestic Abuse and move on with your lives

Thanks to Dawn Ross -Children's Rights Officer Court Contact - for telling us how her role helps improve those suffering from abuse.

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